The former owner of Tunnel Bar-BQ has passed away.

Thom Racovitis has died at the age of 72, his family confirmed to CTV News on Thursday.

He was born in 1942, the year after his mother and father, Helen and Harry, opened Tunnel Bar-BQ in downtown Windsor.

Racovitis was wiping tables, sweeping floors and learning the family work ethic by age 11, according to the TBQ website.

He studied marketing and culinary arts at Oklahoma State University and began his professional career as a chef at various Windsor establishments in 1965. Thom continued the TBQ tradition in 1970 and started the second generation of Tunnel Bar-B-Q with his family.

Racovitis has helped as a consultant, participant and donor of products and services to many Windsor and Essex County charity events.

Following the closure of the infamous restaurant at 58 Park Street East in September, 2014, a Culinary Scholarship at St. Clair College was established in his name.