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Subway co-founder and CEO Fred DeLuca dies at 67

The co-founder and CEO of privately held sandwich chain Subway, Fred DeLuca, died at 67 on Monday, the company confirmed Tuesday.

DeLuca opened the restaurant a half century ago with a business partner when he was just 17 years old. Since its opening, it expanded at a quick clip. It ranks as the the country's biggest chain by units and third biggest by sales.

Fred DeLuca, Subway co-founder and chief executive officer
Source: Katie Little | CNBC
Fred DeLuca, Subway co-founder and chief executive officer

He had been battling Leukemia since 2013 and recently named his sister Suzanne Greco as president to run day-to-day operations for the chain.

Recently, Subway has drawn considerable media attention after it cut ties to longtime spokesman Jared Fogle amid a child porn investigation. Fogle pleaded guilty to charges last month.