Anthony Bourdain, celebrity chef and TV host, commits suicide in France
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Anthony Bourdain, celebrity chef and TV host, commits suicide in France

Anthony Bourdain hanged himself at his hotel room in Strasbourg, France, CNN said in a statement on Friday.

world Updated: Jun 08, 2018 20:07 IST
Anthony Bourdain,Anthony Bourdain suicide,Anthony Bourdain death
Chef and television personality Anthony Bourdain at the 65th Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards in Los Angeles, California.(Reuters File Photo)

US celebrity chef and television host Anthony Bourdain, the host of CNN’s food-and-travel-focused “Parts Unknown” programme, has died at the age of 61, the network said on Friday.

Bourdain hanged himself, the network said in a statement. He was found dead in a hotel room in Strasbourg, France, where he had been working on an upcoming episode of his programme, CNN said.

“It is with extraordinary sadness we can confirm the death of our friend and colleague, Anthony Bourdain,” the statement read.

“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’s death has left his community of fans in the entertainment world reeling. Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay tweeted that he was “stunned and saddened” by the news. “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,” he tweeted.

Bourdain’s death was the second suicide this week of a high-profile American figure. Designer Kate Spade, who built a fashion empire on her signature handbags, was found dead in her New York apartment of suicide on Tuesday.

Suicide rates rose in nearly every US state from 1999 to 2016, according to figures released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday.

Bourdain was found dead in his hotel room in Strasbourg by his close friend Eric Ripert, the French executive chef of New York elite restaurant Le Bernardin, CNN said. Bourdain’s paternal grandparents were French.

He had been working on an upcoming episode of “Parts Unknown,” an Emmy-winning show about travel, food and the peoples of the world.

A gifted storyteller, Bourdain explored haute cuisine and street food alike in his travels, passionately encouraging viewers to “eat and drink with people without fear and prejudice.”

He often drank on the show and was public about his struggle with own demons, including drug abuse.

“We ask very simple questions: What makes you happy? What do you eat? What do you like to cook?” Bourdain said in an acceptance speech for a Peabody Award in 2014.

“And everywhere in the world we go and ask these simple questions. We tend to get really astonishing answers.”

Bourdain leaves behind a teenage daughter Ariane, from his relationship with his ex-wife Ottavia Busia. He had been dating Italian actress Asia Argento since 2017.

After a start washing dishes in a restaurant, Bourdain gradually rose through the ranks to become a chef.

His 2000 memoir, “Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly,” kicked off his celebrity career and led him to become a television host, starting with “A Cook’s Tour” on the Food Network.

“It can’t be overemphasised. He has a level of authenticity you don’t commonly get with people on TV,” astrophysicist and author Neil deGrasse Tyson said on CNN.

“Outside they’re whatever else. He was authentic. You knew that.”

On the network, anchors struggled to hold back tears as they reminisced about their late colleague and urged people faced with despair or who know people struggling with depression to call a suicide hotline.

CNN anchor John Berman remembered his late colleague as a “human contradiction.”

“He loved food. He wrote about food. He lived food. He thought we obsessed about food too much,” Bermand said.

“He once said to me, ‘I wish people would stop taking pictures of food and have more sex.’ You know, because what he really wanted to do was to show people life.”

Bourdain’s death came just days after the suicide of another celebrity, designer Kate Spade.

“Success does not protect you from depression. It doesn’t protect you from suicide,” Jodi Gold, director of the Gold Center for Mind Health and Wellness, said on CNN.

First Published: Jun 08, 2018 17:07 IST