Chef and Travel Host Anthony Bourdain Has Died at 61

The beloved food and travel icon was found dead in his Paris hotel room of an apparent suicide.
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Celebrity chef and TV star Anthony Bourdain, the Emmy-winning host of CNN‘s “Parts Unknown,” has died from suicide, the network said Friday. He was 61.

Bourdain was in the French capital filming an upcoming episode of the show. Eric Ripert, the French chef and close friend of Bourdain's, found him in his hotel room Friday morning. Bourdain had reportedly hanged himself.

“It is with extraordinary sadness we can confirm the death of our friend and colleague, Anthony Bourdain,” CNN 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.”

Bourdain began his career as a lowly restaurant line cook and rose to become one of the biggest and most beloved stars of the food world. The Smithsonian called him "the original rock star of the culinary world." A former heroin and a cocaine addict, he often said that he should have died in his twenties. 

He was an unknown New York City chef when he wrote a 1999 New Yorker article called "Don't Eat Before Reading This." It became an overnight sensation. The next year, he wrote the best-selling book Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly, which transformed him into a superstar of the food world. 

His first TV Show was a A Cook's Tour, which was followed by the award-winning No Reservations.

Upon winning a Peabody Award for the show in 2013, 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,” he said, “we tend to get some really astonishing answers.”

The incredibly well-travelled Bourdain spoke to Maxim last year and revealed that, if he had to choose, Tokyo was the one place he could live forever. 

When I first went to Japan, it was an explosive event for me. It changed my life in very real ways. I went to Tokyo the first time and my head kind of exploded. I compared it to taking my first acid trip:

Nothing was ever the same for me. I just wanted more of it. If I had to agree to live in one country, or even one city, for the rest of my life, never leaving it, I'd pick Tokyo in a second.

In 2016, Bourdain told NPR's Fresh Air that he's happiest "experiencing food in the most purely emotional way."

"When it's, like, street food or a one-chef, one-dish operation, or somebody who's just really, really good at one or two or three things that they've been doing for a very long time, that's very reflective of their ethnicity or their culture or their nationality — those are the things that just make me happy."

Bourdain was twice divorced. He was married to Ottavia Busia from 2007 to 2016 and Nancy Putkoski from 1985 to 2005.

He leaves behind one daughter, Ariane, whom he had with Busia.

The celebrity chef was dating Italian actress and director Asia Argento — who has accused movie mogul Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault and has since become one of his most vocal victims.

Bourdain recently applauded Argento’s explosive speech about sexual harassment in the film industry at Cannes Film Festival, according to Vulture.

“It was absolutely fearless to walk right into the lion’s den and say what she said, the way she said it. It was an incredibly powerful moment, I thought,” he said. “I am honored to know someone who has the strength and fearlessness to do something like that.”

If you are thinking about suicide or self-harm, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or the Suicide Crisis Line at 1-800-784-2433.