Anthony Bourdain, the chef, restaurateur and author who hosted CNN’s “Parts Unknown,” has died at the age of 61, the network said Friday.
“It is with extraordinary sadness we can confirm the death of our friend and colleague, Anthony Bourdain,” CNN said in a statement. “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.”
The cause was suicide, CNN said.
Bourdain was in France working on a “Parts Unknown” episode when a friend found him unresponsive on Friday morning, CNN reported.
Bourdain, born in New York City in 1956 and raised in New Jersey, graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in 1978, then began a long career in the restaurant industry.
He became the executive chef of New York’s Brasserie Les Halles in 1998. By then, he had also turned to writing, chronicling his long hours working in restaurants and his struggles with drug and alcohol addiction. A 1999 New Yorker article, “Don’t Eat Before Reading This,” turned into a bestselling book, Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly in 2000.
Bourdain continued writing books and essays, and launched several television shows about food and travel, beginning with the Food Network’s “A Cook’s Tour” in 2002.
He later hosted the long-running show “No Reservations” on the Travel Channel, touring the world and highlighting cuisine, culture and politics. The show spawned a spinoff, “The Layover,” designed for travelers looking for quick getaways.
In 2012, Bourdain announced he was leaving the Travel Channel because of concerns his show had become too commercial. He moved to CNN in 2013 to start “Parts Unknown.”
A 2016 episode about Vietnam featured Bourdain sharing a meal of noodles and beer with then-President Barack Obama.
Bourdain was known for his bold, brash style and his penchant for profanity.
He is survived by a young daughter, with ex-wife Ottavia Busia. He was previously married to Nancy Putkoski, who he met in high school.
At the time of his death, he was in a relationship with Italian actress and director Asia Argento, whom he met while working on a 2016 “Parts Unknown” episode about Rome.
Argento, among many prominent women who have accused former Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein of rape, has become an outspoken advocate for the Me Too movement. Bourdain has also been a leading advocate against sexual misconduct, speaking candidly about harassment against women in the restaurant industry.
Bourdain and Argento recently worked together on a “Parts Unknown” episode on Hong Kong, which she directed. It aired June 3.
“Anthony gave all of himself in everything that he did. His brilliant, fearless spirit touched and inspired so many, and his generosity knew no bounds,” Argento said in a statement Friday. “He was my love, my rock, my protector. I am beyond devastated. My thoughts are with his family. I would ask that you respect their privacy and mine.”
This article has been updated to include Argento’s statement.
If you or someone you know needs help, call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You can also text HOME to 741-741 for free, 24-hour support from the Crisis Text Line. Outside of the U.S., please visit the International Association for Suicide Prevention for a database of resources.