Top Chef, Writer and Host Anthony Bourdain Dies at 61

By Mei Manuel, June 09, 2018 00:06 AM

Anthony Bourdain(Screenshot)

On Friday, French officials reported that 61-year-old US celebrity chef, author and TV host Anthony Bourdain killed himself in a French hotel room, the second high profile US celebrity death to be reported this week.

Bourdain, who was known for his CNN food-and-travel show "Parts Unknown" and his casual dining with some of the world's leaders, was reported by CNN to have hanged himself in a hotel room near Strasbourg, France where he was doing a new episode for his program for the network.

Local prosecutor Christian de Rocquigny said in a telepone interview that the death of the celebrity chef in Kaysersberg, France is now treated as a suicide case.

The death of Bourdain comes three days after American designer Kate Spade, known for her signature handbag empire, committed suicide in her New York apartment on Tuesday.

America's suicide rates have been increasing for the past couple of years and according to the US Centers for Diseas Control and Prevention on Thursday, nearly 45,000 people committed suicide in 2016 alone. CDC also reports that suicide rates have increased amongst people aged 45 to 64 and the agency has called for a broad approach to preventing these cases from occurring.

Bourdain first started his career as a dishwasher for New York restaurants and worked his way up to become the executive chef at New York's Brasserie Les Halles restaurant. He then became famous for his 1999 New Yorker article "Don't Eat Before Reading This", which was later on expounded into the 2000 book "Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly."

Bourdain was often seen as brash and opinionated, speaking openly about drug use during his early life.

He then turned his attention to television programs, hosting some of the best travel and food programs for Food Network, Traven Channel and later on, to CNN in 2013.

In a statement regarding his passing, CNN said "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."

Last year, Bourdain told the New Yorker that "Parts Unknown", which was currently on its 11th season, was conceptualized because of his idea of traveling, eating, and doing whatever he wanted. He would visit out-of-the-way restaurants and local homes, providing what the New Yorker said as a "communion with a foreign culture so unmitigated that it feels practically intravenous."

When asked about the chef's passing, US President Donald Trump told reporters at the White House that the death was "very shocking" and added "I enjoyed his show, he was quite a character."

Bourdain originally launched plans to create a 155,000-square-foot international food hall on a pier on the Hudson River, but local media reported that he has cancelled the plans last year.

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