Anthony Bourdain, the rock star chef whose cooking and televised travelogues fed the bodies and minds of millions, was found dead by suicide on Friday.
“”It is with extraordinary sadness we can confirm the death of our friend and colleague, Anthony Bourdain. 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,” CNN said in a statement on Friday morning.
The network reports that Bourdain was found to have committed suicide in a hotel room in Paris by his friend, the French chef Eric Ripert, on Friday morning.
During his lifetime, Bourdain was a legend within the world of celebrity cooking. There had been plenty of famous chefs before Bourdain, but few were as versatile or accomplished as Bourdain. After working in a number of famous restaurants, Bourdain exploded on the international scene with the publication of his 2000 bestseller, “Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly.” He also hosted a number of hit shows including “A Cook’s Tour” on the Food Network, “Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations” and “The Layover” on the Travel Channel, and “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown” on CNN.
He spoke openly about his past addiction to heroin and covered America’s opioid epidemic extensively on his CNN show.
In the final months of his life, Bourdain took a stand against the mistreatment of women in kitchens, penning an essay for Medium in which he distanced himself from his former colleague Mario Batali due to the sexual misconduct accusations against him.
Any admiration I have expressed in the past for Mario Batali and Ken Friedman, whatever I might feel about them, however much I admired and respected them, is, in light of these charges, irrelevant. I will not waste anybody’s time with expressions of shock, surprise, or personal upset, beyond saying that I am ashamed that I was clearly not the kind of person that women friends who knew — and had stories to tell — felt comfortable confiding in.
Bourdain’s status as a legend in his industry was perhaps best summed up by Helen Rosner in Eater for an interview-based piece she wrote in December 2016.
Spend any time in contemplation of the astronomical map of food-world celebrities, and it becomes clear that Bourdain is not actually a star — he is a nebula. His fame is almost incomprehensibly vast, his brightness — or sometimes, his darkness — defines the very shape of the expanse, he’s so influential and creatively fecund as to regularly birth stars of his own. His assertiveness is uncommon for someone of his stature, a candor that’s both studied and unaffected, that — even as the topics to which he turns the knife of his attention have broadened in their scope over the years, from brunch eggs and getting high to the crisis of unexploded ordnance in Laos — has barely softened its acerbic swagger.
When accepting a Peabody Award for his work in 2013, Bourdain summed up his professional mantra very succinctly:
We ask very simple questions: What makes you happy? What do you eat? What do you like to cook? And everywhere in the world we go and ask these very simple questions, we tend to get some really astonishing answers.