The statement said McIlhenny led the way on new brand merchandising, taking an instrumental role in the company's catalog business of licensed merchandise. He also was a driving force behind the growing global reach of Tabasco products, today sold in more than 165 countries and territories.
The company said McIlhenny, at the time of his death, was also a company director. He was a sixth-generation member of the family to live on Avery Island and among the fourth generation to produce the Tabasco brand sauce on Avery Island, where patriarch Edmund McIlhenny had founded the company in 1868.
Born on March 19, 1944, he grew up in New Orleans and spent much of his childhood moving between New Orleans the family compound on Avery Island, according to The Times-Picayune.
Reports noted he also had been an impassioned board member of America's Wetland Foundation because of his longtime interest in preserving south Louisiana coastlines crumbling under the onslaught of decades of erosion.
Attorney Edward Abell called his friend McIlhenny "a well-known figure."
"It really kind of puts us on the map here," Abell said, "because the Tabasco products are known all over the world."