Anthony Bourdain’s close friend Eric Ripert paid tribute to the beloved celebrity chef after he died of an apparent suicide at age 61.
“Anthony was a dear friend. He was an exceptional human being, so inspiring and generous,” Ripert, 53, said in a statement to Us Weekly on Friday, June 8. “One of the greatest storytellers of our time who connected with so many. I wish him peace. My love and prayers are with his family, friends and loved ones.”
Ripert later tweeted a similar sentiment, calling Bourdain his “best friend.”
The French chef’s statement comes hours after CNN reported that Bourdain took his own life in Strasbourg, France, where he was filming the network’s series Parts Unknown. The duo spent a lot of time together before Bourdain’s death and went on a “bike date” with the show’s crew on Wednesday, June 6, according to an Instagram picture posted by camera operator and cinematographer Todd Liebler.
Ripert found Bourdain dead in his hotel room. French prosecutor Christian de Rocquingy du Fayel confirmed to Us on Friday that Bourdain died at the Chambard luxury hotel in Kaysersberg, France. “Police are investigating the circumstances of his death and a coroner was at the scene,” he told Us. “At this stage, we have no reason to suspect foul play.
“Anthony gave all of himself in everything that he did. His brilliant, fearless spirit touched and inspires so many, and his generosity knew no bounds,” the Italian actress, 42, tweeted. “He was my love, my rock, my protector. I am beyond devastated. My thoughts are with his family. I would ask that you respect their privacy and mine.”
CNN also honored Bourdain on Friday. “It is with extraordinary sadness we can confirm the death of our friend and colleague, Anthony Bourdain,” their statement read. “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 cease to amaze us and we will miss him very much. Our thoughts and prayers are with his daughter at this incredibly difficult time.
If you or someone you know is in emotional distress or considering suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).