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Anthony Bourdain, dead at 61, made us 'a little less afraid of the unknown'

The chef, author and TV host took his own life in a hotel in France. Grief, shock and respect are pouring out online.

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Bonnie Burton
Journalist Bonnie Burton writes about movies, TV shows, comics, science and robots. She is the author of the books Live or Die: Survival Hacks, Wizarding World: Movie Magic Amazing Artifacts, The Star Wars Craft Book, Girls Against Girls, Draw Star Wars, Planets in Peril and more! E-mail Bonnie.
Bonnie Burton
2 min read

Chef and author Anthony Bourdain covered food, travel and culture in his award-winning TV series Parts Unknown on CNN.


Anthony Bourdain, widely known for his talent in exploring the human condition through food and travel, was found dead Friday.

CNN confirmed his death and said the cause was suicide.

Bourdain was in France to film an upcoming episode of his CNN series Parts Unknown.

"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."

His friend, chef Eric Ripert, discovered Bourdain "unresponsive in his hotel room Friday morning," according to CNN. 

"Anthony was my best friend," Riper tweeted on Friday. "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 & prayers are also w his family, friends and loved ones."

Bourdain's girlfriend, filmmaker Asia Argento, posted a formal message on Twitter about his death on Friday. "His brilliant, fearless spirit touched and inspired so many, and his generosity knew no bounds," she wrote. "He was my love, my rock, my protector."

Bourdain first found fame in his 2000 book, Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly. 

He went on to write numerous memoirs, cookbooks and travel books including Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook, The Nasty Bits, Bone in the Throat and No Reservations: Around the World on an Empty Stomach. Bourdain also co-wrote a graphic novel, Get Jiro, for DC Comics.

But it was his award-winning TV shows A Cook's Tour, Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations, The Layover and Parts Unknown that gained Bourdain a following, including fan and former President Barack Obama, who in a special 2016 episode of Parts Unknown, dined with Bourdain at a Hanoi restaurant. In a tweet Friday, Obama wrote in part, "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's no-filter approach to understanding people and their culture through food made his style feel more like true journalism than binge-worthy television for foodies. 

The Smithsonian Institution once called Bourdain the "Elvis of bad boy chefs" and the "original rock star" of the culinary world.

Fans, friends and fellow celebrities are pouring out their respect and grief online. 

First published, June 8 at 5:06 a.m. PT.
Update, 5:30 p.m. PT: Adds more reactions to Bourdain's death, including his best friend chef Eric Ripert.

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