Anthony Bourdain has died at the age of 61. He was a talented chef, writer, and storyteller who took people on a trip around the world to explore the cuisine and the culture of different locations. CNN has confirmed that his death was due to suicide.
Bourdain was working in France at the time of his suicide. It was for a CNN series, “Parts Unknown.” A French chef and his close friend, Eric Ripert, found him in his hotel room on Friday morning. He was unresponsive when his body was discovered.
CNN made the following statement about his death: “It is with extraordinary sadness we can confirm the death of our friend and colleague, Anthony Bourdain. 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.”
It was five years ago that Bourdain joined CNN. He had an impact on those who watched the network as well as those who were part of the network. This included Jeff soccer, CNN’s president who remembered him as being an “exceptional talent.” He went on to say, “Tony will be greatly missed not only for his work but also for the passion with which he did it.”
Many people have taken to Twitter to send their regrets and to respond to the news. This includes Christiane Amanpour, the CNN chief international correspondent. She said, “May he rest in peace now. He was a friend, a collaborator, and family. A huge personality, a giant talent, a unique voice, and deeply, deeply human. My heart goes out to his daughter and family, and his longtime partners and friends at (production company) ZPZ.”
My heart breaks for Tony Bourdain. May he rest in peace now. He was a friend, a collaborator, and family. A huge personality, a giant talent, a unique voice, and deeply, deeply human. My heart goes out to his daughter and family, and his longtime partners and friends at ZPZ.
— Christiane Amanpour (@camanpour) June 8, 2018
John Hodgman was also acquainted with Bourdain and had the following memory from some 14 years ago:
“He was big even then, but he took time to sit with me in Chinatown to talk ‘weird’ food for a magazine piece I was writing. He taught me that our ‘weird’ is the world’s delicious. We ate chicken feet. The afternoon vibrated with life. RIP.
I ate with Bourdain. Probably 2004. He was big even then but he took time to sit with me in Chinatown to talk “weird” food for a magazine piece I was writing. He taught me that our “weird” is the world’s delicious. We ate chicken feet. The afternoon vibrated with life. RIP
— John Hodgman (@hodgman) June 8, 2018
Gordon Ramsay remembers him as someone who “brought the world into our homes and inspired so many people to explore cultures and cities through their food.”
Bourdain will be remembered for much of what he did but it was his style that really set him apart. He gave a unique perspective and showed people what the world was like through the food that he tried and through the human experience. He was also an advocate for marginalized populations as well as for safer working conditions in restaurants.
The list of awards that Bourdain received is quite long. It includes the Peabody Award, given in 2013 and honoring him for his show, Parts Unknown.
The judges also had high praise for Bourdain, adding the following: “He’s irreverent, honest, curious, never condescending, never obsequious. People open up to him and, in doing so, often reveal more about their hometowns or homelands than a traditional reporter could hope to document.”
Even The Smithsonian referred to him as the original rock star of the culinary world. They added a phrase that many remember, that he was the Elvis of bad boy chefs.
An article in the New Yorker helped to launch his career back in 1999. The article, Don’t Eat Before Reading This, had the following to say about him and what he brought to the table:
“In America, the professional kitchen is the last refuge of the misfit. It’s a place for people with bad pasts to find a new family. Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly.”
Bourdain said that the release of the book and its popularity changed everything in his life. At that point, he was a rising star and started with the food network, hosting the show, “A Cook’s Tour.” From there, he went on to host other shows on the Travel Channel and eventually earned 2 Emmy awards and many more nominations.
When he made the crossover to CNN in 2013, there was some concern in the network that it may not work as well as they hoped. It didn’t take him long before he became a fixture at the network and made it to the prime-time schedule.
The suicide of Bourdain came only a few days after Kate Spade hanged herself in her apartment. It is a growing problem throughout the United States and the CBC has shown that it has increased substantially over the past 20 years.
Bourdain is more than just a statistic, however, he is someone that touched the world in a unique way.