Anthony Bourdain, celebrity chef and Parts Unknown host, dead at 61
Anthony Bourdain, the celebrity chef behind CNN’s Parts Unknown series, has died at the age of 61 by suicide, his home network confirmed on Friday morning. He was 61.
“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. Our thoughts and prayers are with his daughter and family at this incredibly difficult time.”
CNN President Jeff Zucker additionally told staff in an employee email, “Tony was an exceptional talent. Tony will be greatly missed not only for his work but also for the passion with which he did it.”
According to the network, Bourdain was filming an upcoming episode of Parts Unknown in France. French chef Eric Ripert, a close friend of Bourdain’s, reportedly found him unresponsive in his hotel room Friday morning.
Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, a series that explored the human condition in traveling to different countries and experiencing their food and culture, received five Primetime Emmys since it first aired in 2013. Having previously appeared on Food Network’s A Cook’s Tour and Travel Channel’s No Reservations, Bourdain received a Peabody Award for Parts Unknown in 2013.
“He’s irreverent, honest, curious, never condescending, never obsequious,” the Peabody judges had said. “People open up to him and, in doing so, often reveal more about their hometowns or homelands than a traditional reporter could hope to document.”
“We ask very simple questions,” Bourdain mentioned of the program during his acceptance speech. “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, we tend to get some really astonishing answers.”
The next episode of Parts Unknown, centering on Berlin, is currently scheduled to air on CNN this Sunday, June 10. According to a rep for CNN, it hasn’t been decided whether or not the episode will be pulled.
“It has long since become obvious that we come at each episode from an entirely different angle and perspective,” Bourdain wrote in his “Field Notes” for the episode days ago on June 6. “Sometimes we are entirely food or location driven, many times not. Very rarely do we try and paint a picture of a city or a country that’s in any way an effort to be comprehensive, fair, representative, or even useful. This week’s Berlin episode is about the city’s history as an unlikely refuge for artists, musicians, and creatives from all over the world.”
Bourdain was also an author. He penned an essay for The New Yorker in 1999 titled “Don’t Eat Before Reading This,” which then became his 2000 best-selling book Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly.
The news of Bourdain’s death comes days after the death of fashion designer Kate Spade, who also died by suicide.
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).