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Paul McIlhenny, CEO of company that makes Tabasco

AVERY ISLAND, La. (AP) -- Paul C. McIlhenny, chief executive and chairman of the board of the McIlhenny Company that makes the trademarked line of Tabasco hot pepper sauces and other products, has died. He was 68.

A company statement issued Sunday from its Avery Island headquarters in Louisiana announced the death.

The company says McIlhenny, a member of a family that has been producing the world-famous sauce for generations, joined the company in 1967 and directly oversaw production and quality of all products sold under the Tabasco brand for 13 years.

It says the company experienced many years of record growth in sales and earnings under his guidance and the introduction of several new products and sauce flavors.

The statement also says he led expansion of brand merchandising and licensing partnerships associated.