Author and TV show host Anthony Bourdain has died at the age of 61.
Bourdain had an unmatched level of authenticity as he took viewers around the world to not only teach them about global cuisine but the importance of the culture behind it.
“It is with extraordinary sadness we can confirm the death of our friend and colleague, Anthony Bourdain. 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 in a statement Friday morning.
Bourdain was in France filming for Parts Unknown when his close friend and French chef Eric Ripert, found him after he’d taken his own life.
He traveled the world, championed and shed light on smaller communities and did what he loved most— talked about food— but used it just as a stepping stone to really talk about the life lessons he’d learned through the culinary arts. This all started with Bourdain being forced to learn many lessons on his very own.
The quintessential example of the American dream, Bourdain started off as a cook and busboy in Provincetown, Mass. at seafood restaurants along the beach. It was there that while being a debaucherous twentysomething he decided that the food industry was for him. He’d have his successes and best-selling books like the classic Kitchen Confidential (among ten other published works) but also fell victim to drug abuse, indulging in the likes of cocaine, heroin, and LSD.
He also smoked crack cocaine, which brought him to one of his lowest points in life. On a Reddit AMA, he wrote that he found himself “combing the shag carpet for paint chips in the hope that they were fallen crack bits,” though he’d wind up smoking them either way.
On episodes of Parts Unknown, he’d even be transparent enough to reveal to reviewers about the drugs he’d previously tried in a room he rented out for weeks on end. It wasn’t to brag but to give viewers an authenticity rarely seen on television today.
Bourdain was never afraid to be himself, critique people he didn’t agree with—including vegetarians— and even challenged not only his viewers but the people who appeared on his show. The author even famously interviewed former President Barack Obama over a $6 meal in Hanoi, Vietnam, picked up the check and didn’t tell CNN until the last possible moment when the interview was going down.
He’d sardonically say, “Your body is not a temple, it’s an amusement park. Enjoy the ride,” and he lived that to the fullest.
Bourdain is survived by his daughter, who inspired him to stop smoking cigarettes in 2007.