NEW YORK – Acclaimed TV personality, chef and host of CNN’s “Parts Unknown,” Anthony Bourdain has died of an apparent suicide, authorities in France reported today.
His longtime friend Eric Ripert found the 61-year-old Bourdain unresponsive in his hotel room in France today. He had apparently hanged himself.
"Anthony was my best friend," Ripert tweeted. "An exceptional human being, so inspiring & generous. One of the great storytellers who connected w so many. I pray he is at peace from the bottom of my heart. My love and prayers are also w his family, friends and loved ones."
CNN Chief International Correspondent, Christiane Amanpour, called Bourdain a "giant talent."
"My heart breaks for Tony Bourdain," she wrote on Twitter. "May he rest in peace now."
Former President Barack Obama recalled on Twitter a meal he had with Bourdain in Vietnam while Obama traveled in Asia in 2016 -- an encounter captured in a "Parts Unknown" episode that year.
"'Low plastic stool, cheap but delicious noodles, cold Hanoi beer.' This is how I'll remember Tony," Obama wrote on Twitter on Friday. "He taught us about food -- but more importantly, about its ability to bring us together. To make us a little less afraid of the unknown. We'll miss him."
Bourdain was a 1978 graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and a veteran of numerous professional kitchens, including many years spent as executive chef at Brasserie Les Halles. He first became known for his 2000 bestselling book Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly. His first food and world-travel television show was A Cook's Tour, which ran for 35 episodes on the Food Network from 2002 through 2003. In 2005 he began hosting the Travel Channel's culinary and cultural adventure programs Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations (2005–2012) and The Layover (2011–2013). In 2013, he switched to CNN to host Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown.
Though best known for his culinary achievements and television presentations, along with several books on food and cooking and travel adventures, Bourdain's lesser-known writings include both fiction and historical nonfiction.