If there’s one thing that’s clear from the online reaction to Anthony Bourdain’s death, it’s that he was universally beloved, an advocate for many, and a talented chef whose purview extended far beyond food and into the realm of storytelling and activism.
CNN confirmed early Friday that Bourdain was found unresponsive in his French hotel room by his friend and fellow chef, Eric Ripert. The cable-TV network said the cause of death was suicide.
Bourdain’s death comes just three days after news of another shock: that of designer Kate Spade. Across social media, the devastating reports have led many to note that outward appearances may only mask internal battles being weathered. If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
Though the focus of his professional endeavors was ostensibly food, Bourdain undoubtedly harbored a larger mission of cultural exploration and appreciation. “I like food. It was the center of my life for 30 years and I’ll always look at the world through that prism, but it is not the only thing,” he told Marlow Stern in April. His travels, outgoing personality, and empathetic ear introduced many American viewers to the histories behind the delicacies of others, and those that make them.
Fellow chefs and celebrities around the world took to Twitter early Friday to remember him:
President Obama recalled Bourdain's "ability to bring us together. To make us a little less afraid of the unknown."
Gordon Ramsay wrote that “He brought the world into our homes and inspired so many people to explore cultures and cities through their food.”
Chrissy Teigen thanked him for “always standing up for everything right.”
Bizarre Foods host Andrew Zimmern was trying holding on, with one of his favorites from his friend:
Writer Bill Connelly explained that “nobody did a better job than Bourdain of showing that the world is made up of *people* and not cartoon Others.”
Others, from culinary stars to friends from his television shows and fellow travelers, expressed their sympathies: