Anthony Bourdain, the TV celebrity and food writer who hosted CNN’s “Parts Unknown,” was found dead in his hotel room Friday. He was in France while working on his series on culinary traditions around the world. Bordain was 61. CNN confirmed the death, saying that Bourdain was found unresponsive Friday morning by friend and chef Eric Ripert near the French city of Strasbourg. It called his death a suicide. 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.
A French prosecutor said Bourdain apparently hanged himself in a luxury hotel in the small town of Kayserberg. French media quoted Colmar prosecutor Christian de Rocquigny du Fayel as saying that “at this stage” nothing suggests another person was involved. However, investigators were verifying the circumstances of Bourdain’s death. Bourdain was staying at Le Chambard, a five-star hotel. Bourdain’s girlfriend, actress, said in a statement posted to Twitter that she was “beyond devastated.”
Bourdain achieved celebrity status after the publication in 2000 of his best-selling book “Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly.” The book created a sensation by combining frank details of his life and career with behind-the-scenes observations on the culinary industry. It was a rare crossover – a book intended for professional cooks that had enormous mass appeal. Bourdain went on to achieve widespread fame thanks to his CNN series “Parts Unknown” – and was filming an upcoming segment for the program when he was found dead, according to CNN. Strasbourg police, emergency services and regional authorities did not immediately have information about the death. Bourdain’s assistant Laurie Woolever would not comment when reached by The Associated Press.
The American chef, author and television personality was born in New York City and was raised in Leonia, New Jersey. He had written that his love of food began as a youth while on a family vacation in France, when he ate his first oyster. Bourdain said his youth was punctuated by drug use and he dropped out of Vassar College after two years. Working in restaurants led him to the Culinary Institute of America, where he graduated in 1978, and began working in kitchens in New York City. He became executive chef at Brasserie Les Halles in 1998.
Bourdain married his high school girlfriend, Nancy Putkoski, in 1985, and they remained together for two decades, divorcing in 2005. On April 20, 2007, he married Ottavia Busia, a mixed martial artist. The couple’s daughter, Ariane, was born in 2007. Bourdain noted that having to be away from his wife and child for about 250 days a year working on his television shows became a strain. The couple divorced amicably in 2016. In 2017, Bourdain began dating Italian actress Asia Argento, whom he met when she appeared on the Rome episode of Parts Unknown.