Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Anthony Bourdain, the celebrity chef, travel host, TV star, and author, who has died at age 61. CNN confirmed Bourdain’s death on Friday, listing the cause as suicide.
“It is with extraordinary sadness we can confirm the death of our friend and colleague, Anthony Bourdain,” the network said in a statement Friday morning. “His love of great adventure, new friends, fine food and drink and the remarkable stories of the world made him a unique storyteller.”
According to CNN, Bourdain was in Strasbourg, France, working on an upcoming episode of his award-winning series for the network, Parts Unknown. He was found unresponsive in his hotel room Friday morning by Eric Ripert, a French chef and Bourdain’s close friend.
A master storyteller and Emmy-winning TV host, Bourdain helped make exotic, high-end food and everything that comes with it more accessible to the American middle class.
After decades of working as a cook, he entered the public’s consciousness in 1999 when The New Yorker published “Don’t Eat Before Reading This,” a candid and graphic behind-the-scenes look at the restaurant industry. Bourdain followed that up with the best-selling book Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly.
He made his move to TV soon after, hosting A Cook’s Tour on the Food Network and Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations on the Travel Channel. The latter became a breakout hit, earning him over a dozen Emmy nominations and two wins — alongside the adoration of countless fans.
The celebrity chef joined CNN in 2013, quickly becoming one of the most recognized faces of the news network’s prime-time schedule. The 11th season of Parts Unknown debuted on CNN last month.
Though Bourdain had a reputation for being “the Elvis of bad boy chefs,” as the Smithsonian once called him, he had a giving spirit reflected in the many charitable organizations he worked with. According to Newsweek, Bourdain partnered with the Make-A-Wish foundation to help young people struggling with cancer. He also hosted dinners, auctions, and other big events to help fund a variety of causes close to his heart.
“If I’m an advocate for anything, it’s to move,” Bourdain said. “As far as you can, as much as you can. Across the ocean, or simply across the river. Walk in someone else’s shoes or at least eat their food. It’s a plus for everybody.”
Bourdain is survived by his teenaged daughter with former wife Ottavia Busia.
If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.