Anthony Bourdain, the gifted chef, storyteller and writer who took TV viewers around the world to explore culture, cuisine and the human condition for nearly two decades, has died at just 61.
American news agency CNN confirmed Bourdain’s death was suicide.
Bourdain was in France working on an upcoming episode of his award-winning CNN series, “Parts Unknown.” His close friend Eric Ripert, the French chef, found Bourdain unresponsive in his hotel room Friday morning.
“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. Our thoughts and prayers are with his daughter and family at this incredibly difficult time.”
Bourdain spent two decades in restaurant kitchens, at first shucking oysters and cleaning dishes in a Cape Cod seafood shack and later serving high-end meals in Manhattan, before accepting a friend’s offer to fly him to Mexico if he agreed to write a novel. It was the start of a second act as an author and then a host, redefining the staid genres of food writing and food-tourism shows with an inquisitive but rebellious image that endeared him to fellow chefs, restaurant-goers and travellers.
Christian de Rocquigny du Fayel, the prosecutor for the city of Colmar, in the Alsace region near where Mr. Bourdain was found, said the cause of death was hanging. “At this stage, we have no reason to suspect foul play,” he said.
Bourdain had travelled to Strasbourg, near France’s border with Germany, with a television production crew to record an episode of his show “Parts Unknown” on CNN, the network said. “It is with extraordinary sadness we can confirm the death of our friend and colleague,” CNN said in a statement.
Bourdain joined CNN five years ago. In an email to employees, the network’s president, Jeff Zucker, remembered him as an “exceptional talent.”
“Tony will be greatly missed not only for his work but also for the passion with which he did it,” Zucker wrote.
Viewers around the world felt connected to Bourdain through his fearless travels, his restless spirit and his magical way with words. Fans, fellow chefs, celebrities and friends reacted to his death with stunned sorrow.
“Anthony was my best friend,” Ripert tweeted. “An exceptional human being, so inspiring & generous. One of the great storytellers who connected with so many. I pray he is at peace from the bottom of my heart. My love & prayers are also with his family, friends and loved ones.”