Anthony Bourdain, host of ‘Parts Unknown’ on CNN, has died aged 61. A gifted storyteller and writer who took CNN viewers around the world, CNN confirmed his death on Friday, saying the cause was suicide.
“It is with extraordinary sadness we can confirm the death of our friend and colleague, Anthony Bourdain,” the network said in a statement Friday morning.
“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.”
At the time of his death, 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.
“Tony was an exceptional talent,” CNN President Jeff Zucker said in an email to employees. “Tony will be greatly missed not only for his work but also for the passion with which he did it.”
According to CNN, Bourdain was a master of his crafts — first in the kitchen and then in the media. Through his TV shows and books, he explored the human condition and helped audiences think differently about food, travel and themselves. He advocated for marginalized populations and campaigned for safer working conditions for restaurant staff.
Along the way, he received practically every award the industry has to offer. In 2013, Peabody Award judges honoured Bourdain and ‘Parts Unknown’ for ‘expanding our palates and horizons in equal measure’.
“He’s irreverent, honest, curious, never condescending, never obsequious,” the judges said at the time. “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.”
The Smithsonian once called him “the original rock star” of the culinary world, “the Elvis of bad boy chefs”.
In 1999 he wrote a New Yorker article, ‘Don’t Eat Before Reading This,’, that became a best-selling book in 2000, ‘Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly’.
Bourdain’s death happened after fashion designer Kate Spade hanged herself in an apparent suicide at her Manhattan apartment on Tuesday.
The suicide rate in the United States has seen sharp increases in recent years. It’s now the 10th leading cause of death in the country, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention published a survey Thursday showing suicide rates increased by 25% across the United States over nearly two decades ending in 2016. Twenty-five states experienced a rise in suicides by more than 30%, the government report finds.
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