UPDATED with President Trump’s reaction: Anthony Bourdain, celebrity chef, adventurer and CNN series host, has died at the age of 61.
Bourdain, whose Parts Unknown series launched its 11th season on CNN last month, was reportedly found dead in his hotel room in Strasbourg France, by close friend/French chef Eric Ripert, when he and the production crew were about to start another day’s work.
CNN confirmed Bourdain’s death and said the cause of death was suicide. The network’s media guru Brian Stelter said the cable news network waited until Bourdain’s family had been notified before sharing the news, after which “Anthony Bourdain” quickly became the top trending subject on Twitter worldwide.
“It is with extraordinary sadness we can confirm the death of our friend and colleague, Anthony Bourdain,” the network 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.”
In a memo to staff, CNN chief Jeff Zucker called Bourdain “an exceptional talent. A storyteller. A gifted writer. A world traveler. An adventurer. He brought something to CNN that no one else had ever brought before. Tony will be greatly missed, not only for his work but also for the passion with which he did it.”
CNN’s competitors followed that network’s news with stunned reax. “This is a Fox News Alert, and it is shocking: Anthony Bourdain has died,” Steve Doocy said this morning on FNC. “CNN just announced this moments ago,” giving CNN credit for taking “a chance on him to host a show on a news channel, and it was wildly successful.”
Starting his career in various New York restaurants including the Supper Club and One Fifth Avenue, in 1998 Bourdain became executive chef at Brasserie Les Halles. His television career took off in 2005, when he began hosting the Travel Channel’s Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations and The Layover, before switching to CNN for Parts Unknown. He also narrated and exec produced episodes of the PBS series The Mind of a Chef and appeared regularly as a guest judge on Bravo’s Top Chef.
Awarding him a Peabody in 2013, the judges wrote “People open up to him and, in doing so, often reveal more about their hometown and homeland than a traditional reporter could hope to document.”
Speaking to Bourdain’s stature, White House press asked President Donald Trump if he had any comment as he crossed the White House lawn on his way to G-7 summit.
“That was very shocking when I woke up this morning: ‘Anthony Bourdain is dead’,” President Donald Trump said.
“I enjoyed his show; he was quite a character, I will say,’ Trump added, of the much-loved show that airs on the network POTUS most loves to hate. “I want to extend my condolences, and also to the family of Kate Spade.”
I ate with Bourdain. Probably 2004. He was big even then but he took time to sit with me in Chinatown to talk “weird” food for a magazine piece I was writing. He taught me that our “weird” is the world’s delicious. We ate chicken feet. The afternoon vibrated with life. RIP
— John Hodgman (@hodgman) June 8, 2018
More to come….