Anthony Bourdain, a celebrity chef, food critic and the host of a CNN food and travel program, has died at the age of 61. The cause of death was suicide, according to the US broadcaster.
US celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain was found dead in a hotel room in French town of Kaysersberg on Friday, network CNN has announced.
Bourdain, 61, was in France working on an upcoming episode of his CNN food and travel show, Parts Unknown, which he had hosted since 2013.
"It is with extraordinary sadness we can confirm the death of our friend and colleague, Anthony Bourdain," the network said in a statement. "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."
According to CNN, the cause of death was suicide. French chef Eric Ripert found Bourdain unresponsive in his room at the Le Chambard hotel. Those claims were later reaffirmed by French prosecutors, who said the chef had hanged himself.
CNN initially reported that Bourdain had died in the nearby city of Strasbourg, although this was later corrected by the US embassy and Paris and French prosecutors. Kaysersberg is a well-known spot on famed Alsace wine route.
Bourdain first found fame with an irreverent 2000 memoir, Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly, which recalled his life as a New York City cook. He went on to work as a chef at several high-profile restaurants in New York and Washington before launching an award-winning TV career.
Tributes pour in from fellow chefs
British chef and TV personality Gordon Ramsay said he was "stunned and saddened by the news. On Twitter, he wrote that Bourdain had "inspired so many people to explore cultures and cities through their food."
Jamie Oliver, another British chef with a successful television career, said Bourdain "really broke the mould ... he leaves chefs and fans around the world with a massive foodie hole that simply can't be replaced."
Dinner with Obama
Parts Unknown saw Bourdain travel the world, addressing political issues and sampling local food and culture. In a 2016 episode, he visited a shopping area of Hanoi, Vietnam with former US President Barack Obama, and the two shared a meal.
Obama paid tribute to the late chef by tweeting a picture of the two sitting together in the Hanoi food court. The former president wrote: "'Low plastic stool, cheap but delicious noodles, cold Hanoi beer. This is how I'll remember Tony. He taught us about food - but more importantly, about its ability to bring us together. To make us a little less afraid of the unknown. We'll miss him."
Staunch #MeToo defender
Aside from his cooking and television shows, Bourdain was also known for being a vocal defender of the #MeToo movement. His girlfriend, actress Asia Argento, was among the several women who accused Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein of rape. As the first accusations against Weinstein began to pour in, Bourdain published an essay on Medium in which he wrote: "One must pick a
side. I stand unhesitatingly and unwaveringly with the women."
After news of his death broke, Argento posted on Twitter: "Anthony gave all of himself in everything that he did. His brilliant, fearless spirit touched and inspired so many, and his generosity knew no bounds."
Bourdain's death comes three days after American designer Kate Spade was found dead in her New York apartment on Tuesday from a reported suicide.
dm, cmk/sms (AFP, dpa, Reuters)