Grab a tissue. Almost six months after Anthony Bourdain died by suicide at age 61, a group of family and friends who knew him best reflected on his life and legacy, with one recalling how the late chef’s young daughter reacted to the news of her father’s death.
“I heard my phone going off in the middle of the night, and it was a text from Ottavia [Busia] saying, ‘He’s killed himself, and I wanted you to know before the news came out,’” Big Gay Ice Cream co-owner Doug Quint told GQ of how Bourdain’s ex, with whom he shared now 11-year-old daughter, Ariane, told him of the Parts Unknown host’s suicide.
“I [drove] to O’Hare and went to their house,” Quint continued. “The whole morning, I was sitting, head down, making sure I didn’t look at the TV. It’s just so f—in’ lousy. It feels like you’re speeding into a black hole.”
He added of Ariane’s curiosity: “That day, Ariane said to me something like, ‘Is this something that people outside of New York are gonna know about?’ And we were like, ‘Yeah. All around the world, people are sad about this.’ Telling her that made me realize, Jesus, God, this is world news. He changed lives around the world.”
Quint also reminisced about a time that Ariane put on a performance to “Call Me Maybe” while he, Bourdain and Busia were at a rental house in the Hamptons.
“I remember looking over at Tony, and he just stared at her with this look on his face, like, just he was seeing perfection and couldn’t believe it had come out of him, you know?” Quint gushed. “It’s exactly what you want to see in a parent’s eyes when they look at their kid. I sometimes didn’t like Tony, but I always loved Tony, and there was a lot to love when I saw that look come out at her.”
Bourdain’s close friend and fellow chef Eric Ripert — who found the CNN star dead in the bathroom at a hotel in France on June 8 — also shared a fond memory with GQ.
“On camera in Peru, we went to see a shaman. The shaman was explaining what he was going to do, and I was the translator,” Ripert, 53, recalled. “And I said, ‘The shaman is gonna put some alcohol in his mouth, and he’s gonna purify you by spitting on you.’ And Tony said, ‘I don’t want to be wet — I don’t want anything to do with that.’ So I translated to the shaman by saying, ‘Oh, he loves the idea. He’s excited about it!’ And then Tony went in front of the shaman, and he completely covered Tony with the alcohol.”
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).
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