Fred DeLuca, cofounder of one of the world’s most well known brands, died Monday evening at the age of 67, just weeks after celebrating the business’s 50th anniversary. DeLuca and his business partner, Dr. Peter Buck, opened their submarine sandwich in Connecticut in 1965 when DeLuca was only 17 years old.

In 2013, while traveling around to visit with franchisees, DeLuca fell ill and was ultimately diagnosed with Leukemia. Since that time, he had been receiving treatments and still overseeing the brand as CEO, but recently named his sister, Suzanne Greco, as president to run the day-to-day operations.

DeLuca was an active member of the International Franchise Association and a recipient of numerous awards and accolades. He was a supporter of many charitable organizations focused mainly on those that promoted self-sufficiency and education programs.

He was an extremely ambitious businessman, a bright and analytical thinker, and was even a member of Mensa.

DeLuca leaves behind his wife, sister, son, and members of his extended family: the thousands of team members that make up the Subway brand all over the world. He was always very proud of the work of his headquarters staff and thousands of developers, franchisees, Sandwich Artists, suppliers, and partners who he often and affectionately called “The Greatest Team in Franchising History.”

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