Celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain found dead in France at 61
PARIS — American TV celebrity and food writer Anthony Bourdain was found dead in his hotel room Friday in France while working on his CNN series on culinary traditions around the world. He was 61.
CNN confirmed the death, saying in a statement that Bourdain was found unresponsive Friday morning by friend and chef Eric Ripert in the French city of Strasbourg. It called his death a suicide.
Bourdain achieved celebrity status after the publication in 2000 of his best-selling book “Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly.” The book created a sensation by combining frank details of his life and career with behind-the-scenes observations on the culinary industry. It was a rare crossover — a book intended for professional cooks that had enormous mass appeal.
Bourdain went on to achieve widespread fame thanks to his CNN series “Parts Unknown” — and was filming an upcoming segment for the program when he was found dead, according to CNN.
“His love of great adventure, new friends, fine food and drink and the remarkable stories of the world made him a unique storyteller. His talents never ceased to amaze us and we will miss him very much,” CNN said.
Strasbourg police, emergency services and regional authorities did not immediately have information about the death and Bourdain’s assistant Laurie Woolever would not comment.
Chefs, fans and U.S. President Donald Trump were among those stunned and saddened by the news. “I want to extend to his family my heartfelt condolences,” Trump said.
Bourdain was twice divorced and has a daughter from his second marriage.
Bourdain’s death drew new attention to celebrity suicides. It came three days after fashion designer Kate Spade died of apparent suicide in her Park Avenue apartment in New York. Spade’s husband and business partner said the 55-year-old business mogul had suffered from depression and anxiety for many years.
Bourdain’s “Parts Unknown” seemed like an odd choice for CNN when it started in 2013 — part travelogue, part history lesson, part love letter to exotic foods. Each trip was an adventure. There had been nothing quite like it on the staid news network, and it became an immediate hit.
He mixed a coarseness and whimsical sense of adventurousness, true to the rock ‘n’ roll music he loved.
“We are constantly asking ourselves, first and foremost, what is the most (messed) up thing we can do next week?” he said in a 2014 interview with The Associated Press.