Anthony Bourdain, the mercurial chef, has died at the age 61 of an apparent suicide. CNN broke the story that their employee and friend Bourdain died this morning in France where he was on a shoot for his series Parts Unknown.
The network released a statement after his family back in New York was notified.
“It is with extraordinary sadness we can confirm the death of our friend and colleague, Anthony Bourdain. 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 was in Strasbourg, Alsace, France when he was found in his hotel room by his crew. Bourdain started his career as a chef and moved on to write books and worked in television as a journalist and a food historian. Friends say that as much as Bourdain wanted to learn more about food, he wanted to learn about people and the human condition. Bourdain was an advocate for the working conditions of restaurant workers and kitchen staff.
Anthony Bourdain’s first book, Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly, came out of an article he wrote in 1999 for the New Yorker called Don’t Eat Before Reading This. The groundbreaking book shot to the top of the bestsellers list for its raw and sometimes brutal depiction of the less than glamorous life of a top chef in New York City.
In accepting a Peabody Award in 2013 for his CNN series Parts Unknown, Bourdain said that people needed to get out into the world and ask simple questions.
“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.”
Bourdain reportedly joked with friends at CNN that he thought people should take fewer photos of their food and have more sex.
According to Heavy, Bourdain was very frank about his years of drug addiction. In a Reddit AMA, Bourdain said that he abused heroin and cocaine. When asked what kind of person he was in his twenties, he had a dim view of his former self.
“I was a complete a**hole. Selfish, larcenous, druggy, loud, stupid, insensitive and someone you would not want to have known. I would have robbed your medicine cabinet had I been invited to your house.”
Bourdain said that your body is not a temple, it’s an amusement park.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741. For readers outside the U.S., visit Suicide.org or Befrienders Worldwide for international resources you can use to find help.