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A new unauthorized biography of famed traveler Anthony Bourdain reveals raw details of his final days before he died by suicide, including his last messages with his former partner Asia Argento and ex-wife Ottavia Busia-Bourdain.
In “Down and Out in Paradise: The Life of Anthony Bourdain,” author Charles Leerhsen draws from more than 80 interviews, along with files, texts and emails from Bourdain's phone and laptop to portray what publisher Simon & Schuster, the publisher of the book, calls “the first book to tell the true and full Bourdain story.”
“If I’ve written an unauthorized biography, I’ve also written a sympathetic one, and I’ve written one, I think that’s true to the man,” Leerhsen told TODAY.
While the book documents Bourdain's life from childhood to becoming an international TV sensation, it focuses on Bourdain's final days and the emotional turmoil of the end of his relationship with Argento.
Leerhsen told TODAY Bourdain's last days were a microcosm of his life: working around the clock, eating gourmet food, drinking heavily while struggling with addiction and depression.
"I think in his last days, he worked himself into a state of exquisite misery," Leerhsen said.
In what Leerhsen said are Bourdain's final texts with Argento before his death, he appeared to be in turmoil over the end of their relationship.
“I am okay,” Bourdain texted Argento. “I am not spiteful. I am not jealous that you have been with another man. I do not own you. You are free. As I said. As I promised. As I truly meant. But you were careless. You were reckless with my heart. My life.”
“Is there anything I can do?” he asked her.
“Stop busting my b----,” she replied.
“OK,” he said.
That night, Bourdain died by suicide in a hotel room in France.
The book also mentions that in a separate text exchange with Busia-Bourdain, Bourdain had written, “I hate my fans, too. I hate being famous. I hate my job.”
Some members of Bourdain’s family have disputed some accounts in the book, and even asked Simon & Schuster not to publish it.
Argento, Busia-Bourdain and other friends of Bourdain’s did not respond to requests for comment from NBC News.
Bourdain became a household name with a massive following from the success of his TV show “Parts Unknown,” where he traveled to eat and drink with people around the world. He also was a beloved food and travel writer, authoring several books spanning from a cookbook to a deep dive into the restaurant industry.