'Anthony, Why?' Friends Mourn Loss of Bourdain

Chef had legions of admirers, in and out of the culinary world
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 8, 2018 11:44 AM CDT
Shocked Friends Mourn 'Huge Loss' of Bourdain
Anthony Bourdain is seen in New York on Oct. 5, 2017.   (Photo by Brent N. Clarke/Invision/AP, File)

"The most interesting man in the world" has departed. That's Drew Magary's take on Anthony Bourdain's Friday death of a suspected suicide. At GQ, Magary writes that he idolized the celebrity chef, who "lived so much that the idea of him dying seems completely preposterous. And yet here we are." He's not the only one struggling to comprehend Friday's news that Bourdain, 61, was found dead in his hotel room in the small French town of Kayserberg on the Alsatian wine route. He was in France working on his popular Parts Unknown series for CNN.

  • The loss: Gordon Ramsay says he's "stunned and saddened by the loss." Fellow chef Yotam Ottolenghi describes "a huge loss of a person who shaped and changed the way we write about food." CNN has additional tributes, including from President Trump, who saw Bourdain as "quite a character."
  • 1999 article: Bourdain's breakthrough book, Kitchen Confidential, was quickly rising on the Amazon best-seller list in the wake of his death, reports the AP. The book was based on this 1999 New Yorker article by Bourdain, headlined "Don't Eat Before Reading This."
  • With Obama: This clip shows Bourdain sitting down to eat with then President Obama. The former president tweeted an image from that meal Friday. “'Low plastic stool, cheap but delicious noodles, cold Hanoi beer.'” This is how I’ll remember Tony. He taught us about food—but more importantly, about its ability to bring us together."

  • His daughter: NPR revisits an interview with one of its correspondents who dined with Bourdain in Senegal in 2016. He was "pretty intense," but "his eyes lit up when he talked about his daughter," the woman says. Bourdain had an 11-year-old daughter, Ariane, from his second marriage, and the chef told People in his final interview with the publication how much she had changed his life for the better.
  • His struggles: US Weekly rounds up quotes from Bourdain himself over the years about his struggles, often in regard to substance abuse. "I should have died in my 20s," he once said, though in the context of how much better life was in his 50s.
  • 'So mad at you': His daughter wasn't the only important female in Bourdain's life. The New York Times notes the chef won praise for his public support of girlfriend Asia Argento, who has accused Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault. Another figure in the MeToo movement, Rose McGowan, lamented Bourdain's loss in a tearful video on Twitter that now seems to have been removed. "Anthony, why?" she said at one point, per Page Six. "I am so mad at you." A newer tweet has numbers for suicide-prevention hotlines.
  • His girlfriend: Argento, who met Bourdain when she appeared on Parts Unknown in 2016, released a statement on Twitter. “He was my love, my rock, my protector," it reads in part. "I am beyond devastated. My thoughts are with his family. I would ask that you respect their privacy and mine.”
  • First person: In a column at the Hollywood Reporter last week, Bourdain said he first reached out to Argento in part because of her "fascinating" Twitter feed. "That turned out to be one of the better decisions of my life," he wrote.
  • Adventurous show: Bourdain's apparent suicide came shortly after he was banned from Azerbaijan, apparently for filming in a contentious part of its territory controlled by Armenia. The Washington Post has more. Eater has a preview of Sunday's episode of Parts Unknown, which finds Bourdain eating sausage made with pigs feet.
  • Focus on suicide: A government report on suicide is getting special attention as a result of Bourdain's death, which comes just days after the suicide of Kate Spade. It shows suicide rates jumped 25% across the US from 1999 to 2016, and more than half of victims weren't diagnosed with a mental illness, per CNN.
(More Anthony Bourdain stories.)

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