Anthony Bourdain, celebrated traveler, memoirist, food enthusiast, and host of CNN’s Parts Unknown, has died at the age of 61. CNN reports that the cause of death was suicide.
At the time of his death, Bourdain was reportedly filming an episode of Parts Unknown in France with his good friend, Le Bernardin chef Eric Ripert. Ripert found him unresponsive in his hotel room Friday morning.
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Bourdain first came to prominence after the publication of his memoir, Kitchen Confidential, in 2000, which revealed some of the most shocking, salacious secrets about life in a restaurant kitchen that the world had yet to encounter. Bourdain also opened up about his struggles with drug and alcohol abuse, which were only exacerbated by the long, demanding hours he spent at work.
Eventually, Bourdain—burnt out by the chef’s life—stopped working in restaurants and began to focus on television. His first show, A Cook’s Tour, lasted only one season, but in 2005, No Reservations debuted on the Travel Channel. The Beirut episode was nominated for an Emmy in 2007, and Bourdain’s reputation as a journalist and curious, thoughtful traveler began to emerge.
In 2012, Bourdain left the Travel Channel and began work on a new show, Parts Unknown, with CNN. The network gave Bourdain the opportunity to pursue his political interests. While food was still a major focus of his work, he also explored the music, economics, and social problems of the countries he visited. In 2013, he received a Peabody Award for his work on the show. The committee praised his “irreverent, honest, curious, never condescending, never obsequious,” travel coverage.
"It is with extraordinary sadness we can confirm the death of our friend and colleague, Anthony Bourdain," CNN said in a statement. "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."
In recent years, Bourdain has become an outspoken critic of Harvey Weinstein (his partner, Asia Argento, is one of the figureheads of the movement against the disgraced movie producer). He'd also been one of the strongest advocates for the #Metoo movement and spoken out against toxic kitchen culture.
Bourdain is survived by his daughter Ariane.
If you need help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.