He had been in critical condition for the past week after getting severely injured in an apparent suicide attempt, when he shot himself in the basement of his Sea Point flat on the morning of 2 May.
According to a Daily Maverick report published last week, friends of Van Tonder's said he had been struggling recently with depression.
Van Tonder worked for the Spur restaurant group for 38 years, starting out as a junior restaurant manager in Sea Point in 1982 under the leadership of Spur founder Allen Ambor. He eventually moved into the role of MD and CEO of the Spur group, which he occupied for 24 years, before retiring in December 2020 and passing the baton to Val Nichas.
Under Van Tonder's leadership the group expanded from a small business of approximately 40 restaurants into a multi-brand group with over 630 restaurants in South Africa and a presence in 17 countries.
“Pierre passed away peacefully in hospital. We extend our deepest sympathies and sincere condolences to his wife Jane and children Margot and Jordan,” said Val Nichas, current CEO of Spur Corporation, in a statement released on Monday morning.
“We thank everyone for their overwhelming support and prayers for Pierre over the past week. He was a much-loved friend and colleague to so many Spur employees and franchisees down the years. Pierre will be remembered for his passion, energy and total commitment, and his legacy will live on in our great restaurant group that he helped build and led so successfully for more than two decades.”
“We ask for privacy for Pierre’s family in their time of grief and sorrow.”