Anthony Bourdain, best known as the host of travel and culinary show, “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown”, has died on Friday morning at 61. A statement from CNN reads:
“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.”
Bourdain was in Strasbourg, France, working on an episode of “Parts Unknown”, when he was found unresponsive in his hotel room by his close friend, and French chef, Eric Ripert.
Since news broke of Bourdain’s death, there has been an outpouring of stunned reactions from friends, colleagues, and fans on social media.
Humorist and author John Hodgman recalled eating with Bourdain 14 years ago.
I ate with Bourdain. Probably 2004. He was big even then but he took time to sit with me in Chinatown to talk “weird” food for a magazine piece I was writing. He taught me that our “weird” is the world’s delicious. We ate chicken feet. The afternoon vibrated with life. RIP
— John Hodgman (@hodgman) June 8, 2018
Fellow chef Gordon Ramsay was similarly shocked and saddened.
Stunned and saddened by the loss of Anthony Bourdain. 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 US:1-800-273-TALK UK: 116 123
— Gordon Ramsay (@GordonRamsay) June 8, 2018
His colleagues at CNN have been particularly effusive about both their friendship and professional relationship with Bourdain.
My heart breaks for Tony Bourdain. May he rest in peace now. He was a friend, a collaborator, and family. A huge personality, a giant talent, a unique voice, and deeply, deeply human. My heart goes out to his daughter and family, and his longtime partners and friends at ZPZ.
— Christiane Amanpour (@camanpour) June 8, 2018
His path to stardom began in 2000 with his best-selling book, “Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly”. Following the book’s success, he hosted “A Cook’s Tour” on the Food Network, then “Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations” on the Travel Channel. A massive hit, the latter show earned two Emmys, and paved the way for Bourdain’s 2013 partnership with CNN and “Parts Unknown”.
Bourdain was best known for being a master in the kitchen, as well as in front of the camera. He strove to explore the human condition through his work and gave audiences a more global perspective on food and travel. He was also known for being an advocate for marginalized populations and campaigning for safer working conditions in restaurants.
When it comes to accolades, it would be difficult to find an industry award he didn’t win. With his 2013 Peabody Award win, judges praised Bourdain for “expanding our palates and horizons in equal measure. People open up to him and, in doing so, often reveal more about their hometowns or homelands than a traditional reporter could hope to document.”
In describing his approach to his TV show, Bourdain said,
“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.”
The Smithsonian’s superlatives might be the truest to Bourdain’s character, once calling him “the original rock star” of the culinary world and “the Elvis of bad boy chefs.”
Bourdain’s suicide is only the latest in a tragic trend. According to a survey published by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide rates in the US have increased by 25 percent in the last two decades.
If you or someone you know is struggling, don’t hesitate to get help. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, or go visit SpeakingOfSuicide.com for a list of resources.
This story is developing.