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Friends, Fans Stunned Over Celebrity Chef Anthony Bourdain’s Death

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Anthony Bourdain, the globe-trotting celebrity chef and food critic, is dead at the age of 61.

Bourdain was found dead Friday morning by his friend, chef Eric Ripert, in Bourdain’s hotel room in France, where he was working on an upcoming episode of his CNN series, Parts Unknown. According to the network, Bourdain took his life.

“Tony was an exceptional talent. A storyteller. A gifted writer. A world traveler. An adventurer. He brought something to CNN that no one else had ever brought before,” CNN Chief Executive Jeff Zucker wrote in a letter to staff.  “This is a very, very sad day.”

Bourdain first gained recognition with a 1999 New Yorker essay, “Don’t Eat Before Reading This,” which was his frank appraisal of the New York culinary scene. In 2000, the article was adapted into a book, The New York Times’ best-seller, Kitchen Confidential.

“In America, the professional kitchen is the last refuge of the misfit,” Bourdain wrote in his article.

Bourdain was born in New York City, and brought up in the suburb of Leonia, New Jersey. He graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in 1978. From there, he worked his way up in New York kitchens from dishwasher to line cook to head chef.

In 2005, Bourdain began hosting his own show, the Travel Network’s No Reservations, traveling around the world in the hunt for local cuisine. Bourdain later moved to CNN to host Parts Unknown beginning in 2013, a show that has won five Emmys and a Peabody Award.

“Stunned and saddened by the loss of Anthony Bourdain,” celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay tweeted. “He brought the world into our homes and inspired so many people to explore cultures and cities through their food.”

In 2016, Bourdain traveled to Hanoi where he interviewed then-U.S. President Barack Obama, sitting down with him over a plate of noodles at a restaurant.

Bourdain was married and divorced twice, having one child with his second wife, Ottavia Busia. At the time of his death, Bourdain was dating actress Asia Argento. Bourdain was a strong advocate of the #MeToo movement — Argento being one of the women who accused disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault.

“Through space and time, Anthony. Your love will find you again,” actress Rose McGowan, a leader of the movement who has accused Weinstein of sexual assault, tweeted. McGowan also said anyone contemplating suicide to call a hotline.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide rates have climbed in nearly every state between 1999 and 2016. In 2016, nearly 45,000 Americans took their lives, according to the CDC.

“We’re saddened to hear of the tragic loss of Anthony Bourdain,” the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline tweeted. “Please know you are never alone, no matter how dark or lonely things may seem.”

Bourdain’s death follows this past week’s suicide of fashion designer Kate Spade in New York.

On Friday, U.S. President Donald Trump expressed his condolences to both the Bourdain and Spade families.

Before leaving for Canada to attend a summit of the world’s leading industrialized economies, Trump told reporters at the White House he enjoyed Bourdain’s show. Trump described the late food critic as “quite a character.”

Obama tweeted about the time he and Bourdain sat down for the informal meal in Vietnam.

To reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, call 1-800-273-8255.

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