Kerry Simon, celebrity chef and former winner of Iron Chef, has passed away after a two-year battle with Multiple System Atrophy (MSA), the Las Vegas Sun is reporting. He was 60.
In a guest obituary, Simon’s friend, Robin Leach (Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous), praised Simon’s simple and health-conscious lifestyle.
“We will always remember Kerry fondly. He was a gentle man who will be missed greatly. He was still young and handsome at 60 years of age. He didn’t smoke or drink alcohol, preferring his favorite juices regimen.”
Kerry Simon became a rising star in the culinary industry after Donald Trump’s then-wife, Ivana Trump, appointed him to oversee the Plaza Hotel’s Edwardian Room, according to MSN. From there, Simon went on to open a series of restaurants in L.A., Las Vegas, and Atlantic City, punctuated by stints working as the personal chef to concert tours (earning Simon the nickname “The Rock & Roll Chef”) and appearances on Iron Chef (which he won, in 2005) and Hell’s Kitchen.
Our thoughts & prayers are with his family, partners and closest friends as they seek strength from his amazing courage in brutal2 yr fight
— Robin Leach (@Robin_Leach) September 11, 2015
Speaking to Haute Living in 2010, Simon spoke about the direction his career had taken.
“One thing if you look at my career through the years, I have taken a lot of gambles, some which were not so great, some that were very great. I [am a] very searching, spiritual person so there is something that happens through everything I have done, whether it has been the lowest part of my career or the highest part of my career, that has some sort of relativeness to that.”
In 2013, Kerry Simon was diagnosed with MSA, a degenerative, incurable disease similar to Parkinson’s. Simon’s friend Leach wrote about Simon’s diagnosis at the time, in a guest column for the Las Vegas Sun.
“[A]kin to the muscle-plagued brain disease that’s affected other prominent figures including boxing legend Muhammad Ali and award-winning actor Michael J. Fox. Except that Kerry is fighting its far more pronounced disorder known as MSA — multiple system atrophy, a rare degenerative neurological illness that affects multiple parts of the body, causing slowness of movement, muscle rigidity and poor balance.”
At the time of his death, Kerry was confined to a wheelchair and unable to speak.
Per his request, Kerry Simon was attended by two Buddhist monks, who offered chants and prayers as he passed.
[Image courtesy of Getty Images / Ethan Miller]