By Kavitha Shastry
Anthony Bourdain, the celebrity chef and host of CNN's "Parts Unknown," was found dead Friday in his hotel room in France, CNN announced.
The network said Bourdain, 61, was in the Alsace region of eastern France shooting an episode of his TV series, and his body was discovered by his friend and fellow chef Eric Ripert. The cause of death was suicide.
"I'm still honestly reeling from this news," said Greg Morabito, senior editor at EATER. "For the food world, it's like somebody like John Lennon, or maybe Prince, passing."
CNN said in a statement about 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.
Bourdain became the executive chef of New York City's Brasserie Les Halles in 1998, and was a fixture on the global restaurant scene for decades after the publication of his memoir, Kitchen Confidential, in 2000.
That book catapulted his career as a gastronomic storyteller, traveling the world to bring the food and culture of far-off places to his readers and viewers. "Parts Unknown" premiered in 2013 and earned Bourdain a Peabody award in 2014. The show's 11th season had its debut last month.
"More than anyone else, he connected diners with restaurants and the people that work in them," Morabito said.
"He went to all these mom-and-pop restaurants and for a lot of viewers demystified a lot of cuisines for them and made them feel that the whole world is approachable if you have the right sort of attitude and the right enthusiasm, and you're respectful of the people that run the restaurants you go to."
Bourdain was also open about his personal struggles outside the kitchen. In Kitchen Confidential, he wrote about his drug use, and he was candid about his recovery.
Recently, Bourdain lent his voice to the #MeToo movement; his girlfriend, actress and director Asia Argento, was one of the first women to accuse disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein of rape.
Bourdain's suicide comes three days after the fashion designer Kate Spade killed herself at her home in New York.
Suicide rates in the United States are on the rise, according to the Centers for Disease Control, which reported the suicide rate rose 25 percent between 1999 and 2016.