Anthony Bourdain, the TV celebrity and food writer who hosted CNN’s “Parts Unknown,” was found dead in his hotel room Friday in France while working on his series on culinary traditions around the world. He was 61.
CNN confirmed the death, saying that Bourdain was found unresponsive Friday morning by friend and chef Eric Ripert near the French city of Strasbourg. It called his death a suicide. Police sources told French news agency AFP that the cause of death was hanging.
Ripert declined comment when reached by CBS News. Bourdain was staying at Le Chambard, a 5-star hotel in the village of Kayserberg.
Bourdain achieved celebrity status after the publication in 2000 of his best-selling book “Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly.” The book created a sensation by combining frank details of his life and career with behind-the-scenes observations on the culinary industry. It was a rare crossover – a book intended for professional cooks that had enormous mass appeal.
Bourdain went on to achieve widespread fame thanks to his CNN series “Parts Unknown” – and was filming an upcoming segment for the program when he was found dead, according to CNN.
CNN chief executive Jeff Zucker sent a note to staff saying the circumstances of the death are still unclear but that “we do know that Tony took his own life.”
“Tony was an exceptional talent. A storyteller. A gifted writer. A world traveler. An adventurer. He brought something to CNN that no one else had ever brought before,” Zucker said in the letter. “This is a very, very sad day.”
Strasbourg police, emergency services and regional authorities did not immediately have information about the death. Bourdain’s assistant Laurie Woolever would not comment when reached by The Associated Press.
In his travels, Bourdain has eaten everything from rotten shark to sheep testicles.
Celebrity Chefs, fans and U.S. President Donald Trump were.
“I want to extend to his family my heartfelt condolences,” Trump said.
Jamie Oliver wrote on Instagram that Bourdain “really broke the mould … he leaves chefs and fans around the world with a massive foodie hole that simply can’t be replaced.” Chef Yotam Ottolenghi tweeted “Shocking and sad!” while Nigella Lawson tweeted she was “Heartbroken.”
“Bourdain’s exceptional writing made this one formerly picky, fearful eater very brave and want to try everything and I’ll always be grateful for him and the worlds he opened,” tweeted Lin-Manuel Miranda.
U.S. television personalities Megyn Kelly and Stacy London offered condolences and urged those who needed help to contact suicide prevention hotlines.
Bourdain’s death came three days after fashion designer Kate Spade killed herself in her Park Avenue apartment in New York. Spade’s husband and business partner said the 55-year-old business mogul had suffered from depression and anxiety for many years.
CNN is currently airing the 11th season of “Parts Unknown,” and Bourdain was in France shooting an episode for the 12th season. CNN said it has not made a decision yet on whether it will proceed with the current season
Bourdain was twice divorced and has a daughter from his second marriage. Funeral arrangements were not immediately available.