Celebrated chef-turned-TV personality Anthony Bourdain was on Friday, June 8, found dead in a hotel room in France. He was 61 years old.
Bourdain was shooting an upcoming episode of his hit TV series Parts Unknown in France. He was found in an unresponsive state on Friday morning by friend and French chef Eric Ripert.
Bourdain is believed to have committed suicide by hanging himself in a hotel room in Kaysersberg-Vignoble in northeastern France.
‘Incredibly difficult time’
CNN, the news channel with which Bourdain was the most closely associated, said in a statement after his death: “It is with extraordinary sadness we can confirm the death of our friend and colleague, Anthony Bourdain.”
It added: “His love of great adventure, new friends, fine food and drink and the remarkable stories of the world made him a unique storyteller.”
The network also said: “His talents never ceased to amaze us and we will miss him very much. Our thoughts and prayers are with his daughter and family at this incredibly difficult time.”
However, it is not known what drive Bourdain to end his own life. What is known is the celebrated TV personality had been troubled by several things in recent times.
Not the least of these were claims by Asia Argento — with whom he had reportedly been in a relationship with since 2017 — that disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein had sexually exploited her. Argento, one of the initial accusers of Weinstein, in May this year even called the Cannes Film Festival in France Weinstein’s “hunting ground.”
Outpouring of grief on social media
As news of Bourdain’s death spread, many on social media expressed sorrow over the manner in which he passed away.
Some, including world-renowned chef and restaurateur Gordon Ramsay, even urged people to reach out to the suicide hotline if they needed help.
Stunned and saddened by the loss of Anthony Bourdain. He brought the world into our homes and inspired so many people to explore cultures and cities through their food. Remember that help is a phone call away US:1-800-273-TALK UK: 116 123
— Gordon Ramsay (@GordonRamsay) June 8, 2018
Celebrity chef Nigella Lawson even said she was “going off Twitter for a while” after tweeting about Bourdain’s death.
Heartbroken to hear about Tony Bourdain’s death. Unbearable for his family and girlfriend. Am going off twitter for a while
— Nigella Lawson (@Nigella_Lawson) June 8, 2018
While Bourdain took deep dives into culture through his TV shows, chef Andrew Zimmern hosted similar shows but just to showcase the weirder side of international food. Zimmern wrote on Twitter after Bourdain’s passing:
A piece of my heart is truly broken this morning. And the irony, the sad cruel irony is that the last year he’d never been happier. The rest of my heart aches for the 3 amazing women he left behind.
Tony was a symphony. I wish everyone could have seen all of him. A true friend.
— Andrew Zimmern (@andrewzimmern) June 8, 2018
Who was Anthony Bourdain?
Anthony Michael Bourdain was born to Pierre and Gladys Bourdain in New York City, but grew up in New Jersey. His paternal ancestors had emigrated from France, and it was on a vacation there that young Bourdain was drawn to food when presented with an oyster to eat.
Bourdain attended the Culinary Institute of America, among other schools. He graduated in 1978, and went on to run several eateries in New York City.
Bourdain’s entry into the world of media happened with his 2000 book Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly. He would go on to write several other books, including a 2010 sequel to Kitchen Confidential.
Since 2003, Bourdain was also part of several prominent TV shows, starting with A Cook’s Tour. However, his two most successful and acclaimed TV shows were No Reservations and Parts Unknown.
He won a Peabody Award — awarded to American shows and personalities for extraordinary stories on TV, radio and social media — for Parts Unknown in 2014.