Iron Chef star Kerry Simon has died at the age of 60 after succumbing to Multiple System Atrophy, his longtime friend Robin Leach wrote on Friday, Sept. 11, in his column for the Las Vegas Sun.
Simon, affectionately known by his peers in the culinary realm as the "Rock 'n' Roll chef," died in the early hours of Friday morning after a two-year battle with the brain disease.
According to Leach, Simon passed away at a local Las Vegas hospice where he was surrounded by friends and two Tibetan monks, who recited bedside prayers in his final moments. "We will always remember Kerry fondly," the British TV personality wrote in his column. "He was a gentle man who will be missed greatly. He was still young and handsome at 60 years of age. He didn’t smoke or drink alcohol, preferring his favorite juices regimen."
Chicago-born Simon, who was given his rock n' roll nickname by Rolling Stone, solidified his celebrity chef status after winning a 2005 episode of Iron Chef. Also a successful restaurateur, he owned several restaurants in locations including Vegas, L.A., and Atlantic City, New Jersey.
In a 2010 interview with Haute Living, Simon dished some details about his work ethic, explaining that he wanted every item on his menu to be amazing.
"For example, chicken wings (at CatHouse). I must have spent three months developing them. I know it sounds silly but I went through so many different processes over chicken wings and it just went on and on," he said. "At the end of it all, it is all about hard work. I study everything and look at everything that is going on. I read everything from newspapers to food magazines to cookbooks. That plays the biggest role in what I do."
Simon, who grew up wanting to be a rock star, kicked off his culinary career back when Donald Trump's first wife, Ivana, tasked him with running the Plaza Hotel's Edwardian Room in the late '80s. Eventually, Simon moved on and up, working under world-renowned French chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten.
Reflecting back on his rise to the top, Simon told Haute Living in the same interview: "One thing if you look at my career through the years, I have taken a lot of gambles, some which were not so great, some that were very great. I [am a] very searching, spiritual person so there is something that happens through everything I have done, whether it has been the lowest part of my career or the highest part of my career, that has some sort of relativeness to that."
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