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Entertainment Weekly

TV

Guy Fieri 'heartbroken' over Food Network star Carl Ruiz's death: 'I have no words'

Carl Ruiz/Twitter

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Food Network star Carl Ruiz has died. He was 44.

As news of Ruiz’s death reached his friends and colleagues in the food world, many shared tributes of the late chef, who appeared on multiple episodes of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives and was also a judge on Guy’s Grocery Games.

I’m heartbroken that my friend chef Carl Ruiz is gone,” wrote Guy Fieri. “I have no words to describe what a great friend he was to me and my family. His ability to make me laugh and smile under any circumstances was only outshined by his talent as a chef.”

Fieri added, “Over the years, I’ve met a lot of great people but a friend like Carl is one in a hundred million. Carl ’The Cuban’ Ruiz will forever live on in my heart and in those of all who loved him.”

The Food Network did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

Chef Jet Tila, who has appeared on Chopped, Cutthroat Kitchen as well as Guy’s Grocery Games, also mourned Ruiz’s death.

“You taught us how to enjoy every moment to the fullest and not live wondering what if! You are gone way too soon @carlruiz! I will always be #ruizing! You will be remembered by us all! #RIP my friend,” he wrote. “Thank you @guyfieri for bringing Carl into all of our lives.”

Fellow Food Network star Chef Ben Ford added, “Our community lost a good one yesterday. Way too young RIP.”

To say he was a great chef, would be putting it lightly. To say he was funny, would be putting it lightly and to say that he was a great friend would be putting it very lightly,” wrote Anthony Rodriguez, a director of photography for Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives in another emotional post.

“I am devastated at the way too soon loss of my friend Carl. Carl, you lived life to the fullest, enjoyed every moment and were one of the truest and most loyal friends anyone could ever ask for,” Rodriguez added. “The friendship and loyalty and laughs he brought to me and all of the group of friends that knew him best, is just indescribable Carl you were definitely an original and lived the fullest and yet, way to short a life. Vaya con dios mi hermano, te amo ❤️ See you in the next life my friend.”

In June, Ruiz opened his new restaurant La Cubana in New York City, which serves authentic Cuban cuisine.

Although a cause of death has yet to be released, a post from the restaurant’s official Instagram page on Sunday confirmed that the celebrity chef had died suddenly.

“On behalf of the La Cubana family, with heavy hearts, we are deeply saddened to share the passing of our beloved Executive Chef Carl Ruiz. No words can fully express our sadness at the sudden loss of our dear friend and brother,” read the post.

“Beyond his immense culinary talent, Carl’s larger-than-life personality never failed to entertain, enlighten, and uplift every person he encountered along his #Ruizing adventures. His fierce intellect and infectious humor knew no bounds. He was a mighty force of down home Cuban cuisine, and lived life to the fullest, just as he cooked—with “dancing always” as the most important ingredient,” the post continued. “Here at La Cubana, Carl paid proud tribute to his Cuban roots each night, and it is here that Carl’s legacy, undeniable spirit and passion for his culture will live on. We hope we make you proud, Carlito.”

In a statement to PEOPLE, the restaurant said it will be establishing The Carl Ruiz Scholarship Foundation, which will help aspiring chefs.

“On behalf of the La Cubana family, with heavy hearts, we are deeply saddened to share the passing of our beloved Executive Chef Carl Ruiz. No words can fully express our sadness at the sudden loss of our dear friend and brother,” the statement read.

“Beyond his immense culinary talent, Carl’s larger-than-life personality never failed to entertain, enlighten, and uplift every person he encountered along his #Ruizing adventures. His fierce intellect and infectious humor knew no bounds. He was a mighty force of down-home Cuban cuisine, and lived life to the fullest, just as he cooked—with dancing always the most important ingredient,” the statement continued. “Here at La Cubana, Carl paid proud tribute to his Cuban roots each night, and it is here that Carl’s legacy, undeniable spirit and passion for his culture will live on. We hope we make you proud, Carlito. To honor the work you loved so much, La Cubana will continue your work in establishing The Carl Ruiz Scholarship Foundation for aspiring chefs. We love you! You are already missed. Rest easy.”

Prior to his death, Ruiz was active on social media, sharing many photos on Instagram from his trip to Maryland.

“Took a train just to eat one of the best sandwiches in America. Why? Because freedom. Because America,” he wrote on Saturday, alongside a photo of a train ticket, tagging Chaps Pit Beef.

His final post, which was shared on Saturday, highlighted another “delicious” meal he had while visiting a restaurant in Havre de Grace.

“Delicious Crab Cakes with collard greens and red beans and rice. Heaven,” he wrote.

This article originally appeared on People.com

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