'Stunned and saddened': Chefs and celebrities pay tribute to Anthony Bourdain

Fellow chefs and celebrities express shock and appreciation for the "Parts Unknown" host.
by Eun Kyung Kim / / Source: TODAY

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Friends and fans alike of Anthony Bourdain reeled as they awoke Friday to news that the renowned chef, author and popular television host had died by suicide.

Bourdain, 61, was found Friday morning in his hotel room in France, where he was filming the CNN food appreciation program, “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown.”

"It is with extraordinary sadness we can confirm the death of our friend and colleague, Anthony Bourdain," the network 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."

Bourdain’s death comes just days after the passage of another American icon, designer Kate Spade, who was found dead of suicide. She was 55.

Many of Bourdain's admirers took to social media to express their astonishment over his death, as well as their appreciation over his accomplishments.

Fellow celebrity chef Jamie Oliver described himself "in total shock" over the news.

"He really broke the mould, pushed the culinary conversation and was the most brilliant writer," the British restaurateur wrote on Twitter. "He leaves chefs and fans around the world with a massive foodie hole that simply can’t be replaced ... rest in peace chef."

Media mogul Tina Brown tweeted she was "stunned and horrified" by the news of the death of "brilliant Anthony Bourdain, who opened America's eyes to worlds unknown with so much culture, joy and understanding."

American Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian said the news left him "devastated."

Bourdain "was such a leader for us in so many ways both in and out of the kitchen," he told TODAY. "It’s a sad day.”

British chef and restaurateur Gordon Ramsay said Bourdain's death left him "stunned and saddened." He also, like many who took to social media, urged others who may be contemplating suicide to seek help.

Fellow celebrity chef Nigella Lawson described herself as "heartbroken" over the news.

"Unbearable for his family and girlfriend," she wrote in a tweet before saying she planned to stay off Twitter "for a while."

Former President Barack Obama shared his fond memories of the time he and Bourdain dined at a Hanoi, Vietnam, restaurant for an episode of "Parts Unknown" that aired in 2016.

Chrissy Teigen described Bourdain as "one of my idols."

"Unapologetic, passionate and one of the best storytellers on the planet,” she said on Twitter. “Thank you for making food so exciting. And always standing up for everything right. Horrible. Why why why. Be at peace now :( ”

David Chang, the chef who founded the Momofuku restaurant group, simply posted a black page to his Instagram page, along with the lyrics to a song by Will Oldham.

"Well, I hope that someday, buddy. We have peace in our lives. Together or apart. Alone or with our wives. And we can stop our whoring. And pull the smiles inside. And light it up forever. And never go to sleep. My best unbeaten brother. This isn't all I see."

Marcus Samuelsson, who brought Bourdain with him and his wife Maya back to their Ethiopian hometowns in a 2015 "Parts Unknown" episode, said he and Maya were "so sad" to hear the news of his death. "You will be missed terribly," he wrote on Instagram.

"Hamilton" creator Lin Manuel-Miranda, meanwhile, noted that Bourdain's work "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."

TODAY's Willie Geist remembered interviewing Bourdain in 2016 on Sunday TODAY and how he "walked me up Roosevelt Avenue in Jackson Heights, Queens stopping at his favorite food trucks & little restaurants, always with reverence for the food and the people who made it."

CNN said Bourdain's body was found by French chef and close friend Eric Ripert.

Bourdain graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in 1978. After working in several kitchens, he gained recognition for his 2000 book, "Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly," which described in vivid detail the dark and drug-fueled world behind the scenes of the industry.

That best-selling book grew out of a New Yorker article, "Don't Eat Before Reading This," in which Bourdain spilled his own trade secrets after working his way up from humble dishwasher to celebrated chef in New York.

Bourdain also became well known through his television programs, which included the Travel Channel's "No Reservations." He traveled around the world to more than 80 countries, telling stories that wove local foods, history and his irreverent charm.

Chef Tom Colicchio noted Bourdain's cheeky spirit in a tweet.

"RIP doubtful. Tony’s restless spirit will roam the earth in search of justice, truth and a great bowl of noodles."

Bourdain's program, "Parts Unknown," earned a 2013 Peabody Award. Judges credited the host for "expanding our palates and horizons in equal measure." Season 11 of the award-winning program had premiered on CNN last month.

If you or someone you know is at risk of suicide please call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, text TALK to 741741 or go to SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for more additional resources.

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