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Anthony Bourdain, an influential chef and, later, television personality who led such shows as No Reservations and The Layover, died on Friday. Bourdain was 61 years old.
CNN reports live on their own network that Anthony Bourdain was found dead in a French hotel room, where he was traveling with his production team while filming new episodes of his original travel series, Parts Unknown. The network is reporting that Bourdain was found hanging, in an apparent suicide. In a statement, CNN says:
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.
Anthony Bourdain was a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, establishing himself as a renowned chef while working around Manhattan, serving in kitchens such as One Fifth Avenue, the Supper Club, and the famed French restaurant, Brasserie Les Halles. Though the restaurant closed in 2017, Bourdain maintained the "chef-at-large" distinction until it shut its doors.
Though Bourdain will always be known for his culinary achievements, it was his books and, later, television shows that thrust him into the national spotlight and made him a household name. Bourdain broke into this field in 2000 with the best-selling book Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly. That book pulled the curtain back on the cutthroat culinary atmosphere that allegedly could be found in New York City, and his personality seemed like a natural fit for the chaos and competitiveness that drives the glut of competitive-cooking reality shows that sprung from that time and exist now.
Anthony Bourdain's television career dates back to 2002, when he teamed with the Food Network for a combination food-and-travel program in A Cook's Tour. This became Bourdain's niche on TV, taking his show on the road to unexpected locations to explore the culinary options of places like Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
From there, Anthony Bourdain expanded on his legacy as an explorer and entertainer on memorable programs like No Reservations and The Layover -- both on The Travel Channel -- and recently on CNN's Parts Unknown. A Beirut-based episode of No Reservations was nominated for an Emmy in 2007, while Parts Unknown took home the Emmy Award for Outstanding Informational Series of Special every year from 2013 to 2016.
Anthony Bourdain's legacy will be one as a chef, a gifted television personality, and a brilliant storyteller. He pushed the envelope on what culinary experts could do with a travel television show, and always seemed eager to change the format of his exploratory program rather than ever seeing it get stale. His death, arriving in the wake of the apparent suicide of fashion icon Kate Spade, is being treated as a call for suicide prevention, with CNN and other media outlets sharing the telephone number for the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, 1-800-273-8255.