Steve Kline, co-owner of the embattled local chain of Thai restaurants called Typhoon!, died suddenly last night of a heart attack, according to his representatives at Gard Communications. He was 65.

Kline, formerly a reporter and television scriptwriter, along with his wife, Bo, owned six restaurants in Portland, Seattle and Bend, among other locations, and a catering company.

In recent years, Typhoon! fought allegations that it unfairly took advantage of Thai chefs it brought to the U.S. In July, an arbitrators panel cleared the company of allegations it had engaged in human trafficking but ordered it to pay back wages to one chef.

In a statement, Bo Kline said she hoped the business she and her husband ran could put contentious issues in the past. "My husband cared deeply about our customers and employees at Typhoon! They are our family," she said. "The best way to honor his memory is to continue our commitment to our employees and patrons."