While on a trip to Ontario, Canada three weeks ago, Fred DeLuca fell ill. There, he was diagnosed with double pneumonia and leukemia. He was then air lifted to Yale Medical Center, some ten miles from the Subway world headquarters in Milford, Connecticut.
Treatment was started immediately for leukemia.
An email to the Subway development agents (area developers) went out Monday to inform them of DeLuca's poor health. In the email, DeLuca stated: "I won't be able to attend convention this month because I'll be in the middle of treatment." The chain's annual convention will be from July 26-28 in Nashville, Tennessee. Some 5,000 franchise owners, affiliates, vendors and corporate employees are expected.
"My number one job is to take care of my health and get well," wrote DeLuca. "Do I have a succession plan? Yes, I have organized a succession plan. Should we need to implement it, the details will be shared with you then."
The letter went on to say that he cannot receive visitors.
Leukemia is a blood cancer that begins in the bone marrow and quickly spreads through the body, which can cause death. Some forms are treatable while others are not.
In 1965, Fred DeLuca borrowed money to start the first Subway sandwich shop. Since then it has grown by number of units to be the largest restaurant chain in the world, consisting of some 40,000 franchised units.
A Subway spokesperson said: "We can confirm that Subway restaurants' president and co-founder Fred DeLuca has been diagnosed with Leukemia and is currently being treated. Fred is doing well and focused on his health right now. The senior management team for the brand continues to manage the day to day operations of the company and no significant changes are being made at this time."
Our thoughts and prayers go out to our friend Fred and his family. I have full confidence that this industry leader will lead his way back to good health soon.