The world woke up Friday to the shocking news that American chef, author and personality Anthony Bourdain has died at the age of 61.
Bourdain reportedly died by suicide and was found by his friend and fellow chef, Eric Ripert, in his hotel room in France, CNN reports. He was in France filming for his CNN series “Parts Unknown.”
“It is with extraordinary sadness we can confirm the death of our friend and colleague, Anthony Bourdain,” CNN said in a statement Friday morning. “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.”
Bourdain’s death comes just days after iconic American fashion designer Kate Spadewas found dead of an apparent suicide at age 55 in her New York City home.
Before Bourdain established himself on the global scene, became a Food Network star and amassed a reported fortune of $16 million, he was born in 1956 and grew up in the middle-class neighborhood of Leonia, New Jersey. During his coming of age, Bourdain shared his family’s financial struggles and his failed forays as a paperboy and bicycle messenger.
He left New Jersey to study at Vassar College, and it was a summer job working as a dishwasher in a Provincetown, Mass., restaurant that precipitated him to drop out of Vassar. He transferred to the Culinary Institute of America and graduated in 1978.
Following graduation, Bourdain worked his way up from one unglamorous New York City restaurant job to the next. His experiences as a journeyman culinarian later became frank and humorous content for his essays and books, and a 1999 article entitled “Don’t Read Before Eating This” published in The New Yorker changed it all.
Stunned and saddened by the loss of Anthony Bourdain. He brought the world into our homes and inspired so many people to explore cultures and cities through their food. Remember that help is a phone call away US:1-800-273-TALK UK: 116 123
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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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Anthony Bourdain Books and TV Career
Bourdain ultimately landed as executive chef at the now-closed Les Halles in 1998. It wasn’t until 2000, at age 44, that he opened his first savings account by way of his earnings from his first book, “Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly,” a runaway hit. Prior to that, Bourdain spent his adulthood artfully dodging American Express for his credit card debt and even the Internal Revenue Service for back taxes.
It was his honesty, “bad boy” reputation and endearing charisma — even when speaking about deeply personal topics like being flat-out broke until his mid-40s, struggles with addiction and self-destructive behavior — that made him relatable to many.
A gifted wordsmith and master storyteller, he brought audiences to near and distant lands to explore local culture and cuisine, but it was so much more. Without prejudice or agenda, Bourdain’s well-known shows that included “A Cook’s Tour,” “Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations” and “Parts Unknown,” which aired on Food Network, Travel Channel and CNN, respectively, tackled salient issues like religion, classism, addiction, immigration, greed, politics and the humanity of a shared meal among friends.
Bourdain leaves behind an 11-year-old daughter Ariane, whom he shared with his Italian ex-wife, Ottavia Busia. His girlfriend was 42-year-old Asia Argento, an Italian actress who has become vocal in her allegations of sexual assault against disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein. Bourdain was outspoken about the #MeToo movement and his support of his girlfriend as she went public with her accusations against Weinstein.