Anthony Bourdain was a man with an opinion.
He spoke his mind. He had balls and the brain to match. He had convictions. He held on to his worldview with a rigidity that was both refreshing and borderline revolutionary for someone in his position: he was a chef who spoke the hard, often brutal truths about his industry, a travel guide who cut through the sanitized, force-fed bullshit, a media icon who wasn't afraid to be criticized, ostracized, or demonized if it meant standing by his own words.
But for all his steadfast positions on everything from scrambled eggs to Guy Fieri, he held one belief, unwaveringly: He wanted to make the world a more inclusive place. He implored people -- Americans, specifically -- to give their comfort zones a well-deserved "fuck off." He embraced and celebrated the humanity present in every culture, in every region, in every hole-in-the-wall noodle shop in Singapore or Michelin starred restaurant in Pairs, equally. He poured enough life into his 61 years on this earth to inspire a generation to travel with passion. To eat with an appetite. To drink with a stranger. To love, to swear, to sweat, and above all, connect with our fellow human beings.
He was never afraid to challenge his own ignorance. He championed travel as not just a pastime but as a pathway to deeper empathy and understanding. At a time when genuine human connection and the willingness to embrace and understand the unfamiliar feels so fragile and fraught, the erasure of his voice is an unequivocal loss.
We lost one of the good guys today. He was a warrior. A champion of the undervalued and overserved. He was on our side. He was Sal Paradise with a point. Rick Steves with a mission. Martha Stewart with a pint glass (or two). He was real. He was raw. He was fearless.
And -- even if he might not have recognized it -- he was a teacher. It's these lessons that will continue to inspire, ignite, and challenge us to embrace the unknown. For everything he gave us during his brief but brilliant life, that is how we will remember him.
If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) or go to SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for a list of resources.