American TV celebrity and food writer Anthony Bourdain has been found dead in his hotel room in France while working on his CNN series on culinary traditions around the world. He was 61.
CNN confirmed the death, saying in a statement that Bourdain was found unresponsive Friday morning by friend and chef Eric Ripert, and calling his death a suicide.
Bourdain’s achieved celebrity status after the publication in 2000 of his best-selling book “Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly.” It combined frank details of his life and career with behind-the-scenes observations on the culinary industry.
CNN said Bourdain was in Strasbourg filming an upcoming segment in his series “Parts Unknown.”
The CNN statement said: “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.”
Strasbourg police, emergency services and regional authorities did not immediately have information about the death. Bourdain’s assistant Laurie Woolever would not comment on what happened.
The CNN statement expressed condolences to his daughter and family but provided no information about memorial ceremonies.
Bourdain’s death drew new attention to celebrity suicides. It came three days after fashion designer Kate Spade died of apparent suicide in her Park Avenue apartment in New York. Spade’s husband and business partner said the 55-year-old business mogul had suffered from depression and anxiety for many years.
In the preface to the latest edition “Kitchen Confidential,” Bourdain wrote of his shock at the success off his book, which he wrote by getting up at 5 a.m. in the morning to steal a couple of hours at the computer before appearing at the saute station for lunch.
He said he never intended to write an expose or to “rip the lid off the restaurant business.” He said he liked the restaurant business the way it was.
“What I set out to do was write a book that my fellow cooks would find entertaining and true. I wanted it to sound like me talking at say … ten o’clock on a Saturday night, after a busy dinner rush, me and a few cooks hanging around in the kitchen, knocking back a few beers and talking shit.”
Bourdain said he really had no idea that anyone outside the world of chefs would even pay attention to his comments. It seemed to startle him, that a book intended for professional cooks would have such mass appeal.
“The new celebrity chef culture is a remarkable and admittedly annoying phenomenon. While it’s been nothing but good for business — and for me personally — many of us in the life can’t help snickering about it,” he wrote. “Of all the professions, after all, few people are less suited to be suddenly thrown into the public eye than chefs.”