Before his death, Anthony Bourdain discussed the meaning of life and performed an ancient “death ritual” with director Darren Aronofsky while filming the finale of “Parts Unknown.”
The episode, which aired on CNN Sunday, tracked Bourdain and the “Black Swan” director during a journey through Bhutan in South Asia. The renowned chef, also a Buddhist, touched on the country’s relationship with death in one scene, where a man tells Bourdain Buddhism implores its followers “not to take things too seriously. This is, in fact, an illusion.”
“It is considered enlightening and therapeutic to think about death for a few minutes a day,” he added, while narrating a shot overlooking a Bhutanese mountain range.
Aronofsky, writing about his friend for CNN, said a “death ritual” scene filmed for the episode was “ironic,” even considering it was shot six months before Bourdain’s suicide.
Chef Anthony Bourdain through the years
Chef Anthony Bourdain through the years
UNITED STATES - APRIL 12: Chef Anthony Bourdain has a drink at Tintol restaurant in Times Square. Bourdain, 49, is the star of 'Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations,' the Travel Channel series that's half travelogue and half food show. Traveling constantly for the show, on which he regularly grosses viewers out by eating such delicacies as fermented shark meat in Iceland - 'the smell alone would stop a rhinoceros in its tracks,' he says - means he's only in his Manhattan apartment a few days out of the month. (Photo by James Keivom/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
(AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND OUT) Chef Anthony Bourdain, 27 October 2003. AFR Picture by MICHELE MOSSOP (Photo by Fairfax Media via Getty Images)
MIAMI BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 26: Chef Anthony Bourdain does a cooking demonstration at the South Beach Food And Wine Festival on February 26, 2005 in Miami Beach, Florida. (Photo by Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - APRIL 21: Chef Tom Colicchio and TV personality Anthony Bourdain attend the Food Bank For New York City's Sixth Annual Can-Do Awards at Abigail Kirsch's Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers on April 21, 2009 in New York City (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/WireImage for BWR)
MIAMI BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 28: Eric Ripert and Anthony Bourdain attend the 2010 South Beach Wine and Food Festival Grand Tasting Village on February 28, 2010 in Miami Beach, Florida. (Photo by Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images)
MIAMI BEACH, FL - JUNE 30: Anthony Bourdain discusses his book 'Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook' presented by Books and Books at Lincoln Theatre on June 30, 2010 in Miami Beach, Florida. (Photo by Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images)
TOP CHEF -- 'An Offer They Can't Refuse' Episode 808 -- Pictured: (l-r) Jduges Tom Colicchio, Anthony Bourdain (Photo by David Giesbrecht/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
Anthony Bourdain attends the Whole Foods Market Grand Tasting Village during the 2011 South Beach Wine and Food Festival on February 27, 2011 in Miami Beach, Florida. (Photo by John Parra/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 19: TV personality Anthony Bourdain attends the Great Googa Mooga 2012 at Prospect Park on May 19, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images)
LATE NIGHT WITH JIMMY FALLON -- Episode 650 -- Pictured: (l-r) Anthony Bourdain, Jimmy Fallon -- (Photo by: Ira James/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
THE TASTE - ABC's 'The Taste' features no-holds barred chef Anthony Bourdain. (Photo by Sasha Shemirani/ABC via Getty Images)
PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 10: Anthony Bourdain attends the Disney ABC Television Group 2013 TCA Winter Press Tour at The Langham Huntington Hotel and Spa on January 10, 2013 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)
MIAMI BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 23: Anthony Bourdain attends the South Beach Wine and Food Festival 2013 Grand Tasting Village on February 23, 2013 in Miami Beach, Florida. (Photo by John Parra/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 02: Anthony Bourdain signs his book at Hey New York: Meet Anthony Bourdain + Eric Ripert book signing event for his book 'Appetites: A Cookbook' at Williams-Sonoma Columbus Circle on December 2, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Owen Hoffmann/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - NOVEMBER 10: TV personality Anthony Bourdain attends 'Parts Unknown Last Bite' Live CNN Talk Show hosted by Anthony Bourdain at Atomic Liquors on November 10, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada. 24280_001_0026.JPG (Photo by Isaac Brekken/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 10: (L-R) Senior vice president for talent and content development Amy Entelis, Anthony Bourdain and Senior vice president of development and acquisitions Vinnie Malhotra attend the CNN Upfront 2014 at Skylight Modern on April 10, 2014 in New York City. 24679_002_0417.JPG (Photo by Bryan Bedder/WireImage for Turner Networks)
THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON -- Episode 0657 -- Pictured: (l-r) Author/Chef Anthony Bourdain and host Jimmy Fallon during an interview on April 19, 2017 -- (Photo by: Andrew Lipovsky/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 04: Chef, Author and TV Personality Anthony Bourdain attends The 2015 Bronx Academy Of Letters Chefs' Tasting Benefit at The Edison Ballroom on March 4, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Ben Hider/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 02: (L-R) Chef Mario Batali, Artist Shantell Martin, and Chef Anthony Bourdain attend The (RED) Supper hosted by Mario Batali with Anthony Bourdain on June 2, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 12: Anthony Bourdain attends the 2015 Creative Arts Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 12, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 08: Author/chef Anthony Bourdain attends the 2015 Center For Fiction Benefit & Awards at The Metropolitan Club on December 8, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Mireya Acierto/Getty Images)
Anthony Bourdain poses with the outstanding informational series or special award for "Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown" backstage at the 2015 Creative Arts Emmy Awards in Los Angeles, California September 12, 2015. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok
REFILE-QUALITY REPEAT U.S. President Barack Obama talks with Anthony Bourdain after an interview at a shopping area of Hanoi, Vietnam May 24, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 12: Anthony Bourdain and Asia Argento attend the 2018 Women In The World Summit at David H. Koch Theater, Lincoln Center on April 12, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Paul Bruinooge/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 18:Anthony Bourdain is seen in midtown on January 18, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Raymond Hall/GC Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 09: Asia Argento and Anthony Bourdain attend the 2017 Creative Arts Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 9, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 19: Anthony Bourdain attends Build Series Presents discussing The New Documentary 'Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent'at Build Studio on April 19, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Steve Mack/FilmMagic)
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“It seems ironic now that on our last day of shooting we performed a Bhutanese death ritual,” said Aronofsky. “We debated the fate of the country, the fate of the world. He was perplexed as to how mankind’s endless hunger to consume could be curtailed. ‘Don’t we all want flat screen TV’s?’ he asked.”
The finale followed Bourdain and the “Black Swan” director as they mingled with goat herders and ate in Thimphu, the country’s capital. Aronofsky — who told CNN he first met Bourdain by direct messaging on Twitter in 2014 — said the journey helped solidify their friendship.
“Bhutan was where I really got to know Tony,” said Aronofsky. “There, I became aware of his utter lack of vanity. He never adjusted his hair or gave a damn about makeup or a lighting setup.”
The prominent host and chef’s death at the age of 61 rocked millions of fans earlier this month. Bourdain’s body was found in in a hotel room in a Strasbourg, France, where he was shooting an episode for “Parts Unknown,” now in its 11th season.
“His death is incomprehensible. I don’t know how to process him being gone,” Aronofsky wrote of the late author and TV host.
CNN anchor Don Lemon paid homage to Bourdain before the season finale on Sunday: “Anthony Bourdain was our window to the far-flung places of our planet, but he had a way of making what was so foreign seem so familiar by the time he was done weaving his words around the story.”
Celebrities who died in 2018
Celebrities who died in 2018
Aretha Franklin died at the age of 76 on August 16 following a long battle with cancer. Read more here.
(Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Renowned celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain died of an apparent suicide on June 8. Read more here.
"Superman" actress Margot Kidder died at the age of 69 in May. Read more here.
(Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/FilmMagic)
Burt Reynolds died at the age of 82 on September 6 after going into cardiac arrest. Read more here.
(Photo by Michael Tullberg/Getty Images)
Comic book legend Stan Lee died at the age of 95 in early November. Read more here.