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Anthony Bourdain Is Dead at 61

Cole Saladino/Thrillist

Anthony Bourdain, the beloved TV host, author, and ex-cook turned celebrity chef, has died. He was 61.

The globetrotting storyteller transported viewers around the world on CNN's Parts Unknown. He revealed the dark side of the New York City restaurant industry in his breakthrough memoir, Kitchen Confidential. He left the restaurant world and became an award-winning TV host and food personality as influential as he was beloved. And in recent months, he was an outspoken advocate in the #MeToo movement against harassment and sexual misconduct. 

CNN confirmed Bourdain's death in a statement on Friday morning, saying he died of suicide.

"It is with extraordinary sadness we can confirm the death of our friend and colleague, Anthony Bourdain," the statement read. "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 network said Bourdain was in France, working on an episode of Parts Unknown at the time of his death. Eric Ripert, a close friend and the chef of Le Bernardin in New York, found him unresponsive in his hotel room. 

“Anthony was a dear friend,” Ripert toldThe New York Times. “He was an exceptional human being, so inspiring and generous. One of the great storytellers of our time who connected with so many. I wish him peace. My love and prayers are with his family, friends and loved ones.”

Bourdain was born on June 25, 1956 to Pierre Bourdain and Gladys Bourdain in New York. He graduated from high school in 1973, attended Vassar College, and dropped out after two years. While at Vassar, he met Nancy Putkoski, who he married in 1985. Bourdain and Putkoski divorced in 2005, and in 2007, he married Ottavia Busia and together, they had a daughter, Ariane. In 2016, they divorced and Bourdain started dating Italian actress and director Asia Argento.

Argento issued the following statement:

The food world and beyond reacted to news of Bourdain's death with shock and grief. 

"A piece of my heart is truly broken this morning," Andrew Zimmern, the chef and Travel Channel personality, said in a post on Twitter. "And the irony, the sad cruel irony is that the last year he’d never been happier. The rest of my heart aches for the 3 amazing women he left behind. Tony was a symphony. I wish everyone could have seen all of him. A true friend."

Former President Barack Obama remembered Bourdain for his ability to bring people together -- over food, of course.

CNN announced it will air a special tribute, Remembering Anthony Bourdain, on Friday, June 8, at 10pm ET. On Saturday, the network will run a series of Bourdain's favorite episodes of Parts Unknown, beginning at 8pm ET. Then, on Sunday, the previously scheduled new episode of Parts Unknown will be on at 9pm ET with a special introduction by Anderson Cooper, according to a statement from CNN. Remembering Anthony Bourdain will air again Sunday night at 10pm ET.

Bourdain once said, "Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you... You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind."

Tony, thank you for the stories, the adventures, the wisdom. Thank you for your unflinching conscience and authenticity. You left something good behind. 

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.

Tony Merevick is Senior News Editor at Thrillist.