Chef Kerry Simon died at the age of 60 on Friday after battling an incurable brain disease for two years. Food Network fans may remember Simon from Iron Chef‘s second season in 2005 when he faced off, and beat, Iron Chef Cat Cora.
According to MSN, Simon suffered for the past two years from Multiple System Atrophy, a brain disease that left him confined to a wheelchair and unable to speak.
Robin Leach, Simon’s friend and the former host of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, wrote about his passing in the Las Vegas Sun this week. Leach wrote that Simon was in a hospice surrounded by his business partner and two Tibetan monks when he died on Friday.
— Robin Leach (@Robin_Leach) September 11, 2015
Leach tweeted out the news of his friend’s death on Friday stating that Simon had a “brutal two-year fight” with brain disease, and his thoughts and prayers were with his family and friends.
With a heavy heart & sadness sorry to report that chef Kerry Simon passed away early this morning at the hospice after his long MSA battle — Robin Leach (@Robin_Leach) September 11, 2015
Fans replied with condolences for the Iron Chef’s passing and Leach replied with a little humor to help break up the news he shared about his friend.
“Yes he will be missed greatly,” Leach tweeted to Simon’s supporters, “but he’s got more customers than ever to now feed in heaven.”
According to CBS News, Simon rose to fame as a chef in 1989 when he was hired by Ivana Trump to be the executive chef in the Plaza Hotel’s Edwardian Room. Two years later, Rolling Stone named him one of the top personalities of the year, dubbing him the Rock ‘n Roll Chef.
Kerry Simon owned many restaurants during his career, including eateries across the nation including KGB, Carson’s Kitchen, and Simon (in the Palms Casino Resort) in Las Vegas, Simon LA in Los Angeles, and Simon Prime in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
A post on the Palms Casino Resort‘s Facebook page was one of many on social media that paid tribute to the passing of Chef Kerry Simon on Friday.
“All of us at Palms are deeply saddened by the passing of Chef Kerry Simon, who was a beloved part of the Palms family for many yearsHis passion, his creativity and his spirit made an indelible mark on our property and the entire Las Vegas culinary scene that will not soon be matched. Our thoughts and condolences are with his family. Chef Kerry Simon battled with Multiple System Atrophy. To contribute to the fight against MSA, click here.”
In addition to his restaurants and his Iron Chef win on Food Network, Simon appeared in several episodes of the Fox TV series Hell’s Kitchen.
[Image: Ethan Miller, Getty Images]