US Celebrity Chef Anthony Bourdian, Dies at 61

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US celebrity chef and television personality Anthony Bourdain has been found dead in his hotel room, aged 61, of a suspected suicide, CNN reports. The culinary enfant terrible was in Strasbourg, France, working on a shoot for his series, Parts Unknown, on CNN. “It is with extraordinary sadness we can confirm the death of our friend and colleague, Anthony Bourdain,” the cable network said in a statement on Friday. Bourdain was a best-selling food, fiction and nonfiction author.

CNN’s statement continued: “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.” He shot to fame in 2000 with a best-selling book called Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly, a behind-the-scenes expose on the world of haute cuisine.

In the book he wrote candidly about his abuse of drugs, including cocaine, heroin and LSD. Bourdain traveled more than 250 days of the year to film his show, he told the Wall Street Journal in March.His first TV show was A Cook’s Tour on the Food Network in 2002. Three years later he joined the Travel Channel with Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations, picking up two Emmy Awards. He moved to CNN in 2013 with a new travel and food show, Parts Unknown, which is in its 11th season.

He grew up in Leonia, New Jersey, an affluent suburb of New York City. His father was a Yale-educated record executive, and his mother worked as a copy editor at the New York Times Bourdain was married twice, first to his high-school sweetheart Nancy Putkoski in 1985. They divorced after 20 years. Two years later he married mixed martial artist Ottavia Busia and they had a daughter, Ariane, born in 2007. They divorced in 2016, a split he blamed partly on his constant travel for work.

Last year Bourdain was romantically linked with Italian actress Asia Argento and they were in a relationship. He became an outspoken advocate for the #MeToo movement after Argento accused former Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein of rape. Bourdian’s death comes days after the suicide of another much-loved celebrity, 55-year-old fashion designer Kate Spade, in New York. On Thursday, US government health officials said US suicides had risen by 30% since 1999, and that the crisis presented a growing problem. Nearly 45,000 Americans died by suicide in 2016.

US President Donald Trump said as he left the White House for the G7 summit: “I want to extend to his family my heartfelt condolences.” “That was a shock when I woke up this morning: Anthony Bourdain is dead! I enjoyed his show, he was quite a character.” He added that he also wished to give condolences to the family of Kate Spade. Tributes have been pouring in from fellow foodies, celebrities, entertainers, and broadcasters.

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