Carl Ruiz, Food Network star and celebrity chef, dies at 44

The Food Network personality was also the owner of the New York City restaurant La Cubana.

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/ Source: TODAY
By Francesca Gariano

Celebrity chef Carl Ruiz has died at age 44.

The death of the Food Network star and owner of the New York restaurant La Cubana was announced Sunday.

His friend and internet personality Matt Farah confirmed the news on Twitter and Instagram, sharing his fond memories of Ruiz throughout their two years of friendship.

Farah used the caption of his Instagram photo as a tribute to the late Ruiz, sharing a heartfelt message of the time they spent together as well as praising Ruiz’s abilities as a chef.

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“The idea I can’t bounce a watch purchase, a recipe, or a funny tweet off him ever again hasn’t really set in, but let’s just say life feels a lot more gray today,” he wrote. “He was too prophetic for his own good - Carl was never going to grow old and invalid, he was full throttle every day and no one was gonna tell him otherwise. I just wish I had some more time to laugh with my friend.”

Fellow Food Network star Guy Fieri shared his own tribute to Ruiz, stating that he is “heartbroken” over the loss of the talented chef.

“I’m heartbroken that my friend chef Carl Ruiz is gone,” Fieri wrote on Twitter. “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.”

In a separate tweet, Fieri continued his sentiment, writing, "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.”

Ruiz was best known for his appearances on the Food Network, including "Guy's Grocery Games" and "Guy's Ranch Kitchen" as well as his own YouTube series, "Omg Carl's Food Show," for which he reviewed chain restaurants.

Sirius XM producer Travis Tefft wrote on Twitter, “I don’t think I’ve known anyone who lived life to the fullest more than @carlruiz. He was hilarious and exceptionally nice to everyone. This news truly sucks.”

Ruiz’s restaurant La Cubana only opened in June. The restaurant said on Instagram that it will be establishing The Carl Ruiz Scholarship Foundation to help out 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,” the post read. “No words can fully express our sadness at the sudden loss of our dear friend and brother.”

“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,” the statement continued. “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 cause of Ruiz's death is still unknown.

CORRECTION (Sept. 22, 2019, 11:04 p.m.): An earlier version of this article stated that Ruiz was found dead in his home. It is not currently known where Ruiz was when he passed.