American celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain, the Emmy-winning host of CNN‘s “Parts Unknown,” has died at the age of 61, according to the network.
CNN confirmed his death Friday and said the cause of death was suicide.
“It is with extraordinary sadness we can confirm the death of our friend and colleague, Anthony Bourdain,” the network said in a statement Friday morning.
“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.”
Bourdain, who was in France working on an upcoming episode of his show, was found unresponsive in his hotel room Friday morning by his friend Eric Ripert, according to the network.
Through his TV shows and books, the globe-trotting gourmand helped his audiences think differently about food and travel – collecting just about every award the industry has to offer along the way.
In 2013, Peabody Award judges honored Bourdain and “Parts Unknown” for “expanding our palates and horizons in equal measure,” according to CNN.
“He’s irreverent, honest, curious, never condescending, never obsequious,” the judges said. “People open up to him and, in doing so, often reveal more about their hometowns or homelands than a traditional reporter could hope to document.”
The Smithsonian once described him as “the original rock star” of the culinary world — “the Elvis of bad boy chefs.”
In 1999, he penned a New Yorker article, “Don’t Eat Before Reading This,” that became a 2000 best-seller, “Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly,” which gained him international acclaim.
He hosted “A Cook’s Tour” on the Food Network before moving to “Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations” on the Travel Channel, a major hit that garnered him two Emmy Awards and more than a dozen nominations.
In 2013, CNN took a gamble by bringing Bourdain aboard a network best known for breaking news and headlines, but he quickly became a major draw during the primetime schedule.
Season 11 of “Parts Unknown” premiered on CNN last month.
While accepting the Peabody award in 2013, Bourdain described how he approached his work.
“We ask very simple questions: What makes you happy? What do you eat? What do you like to cook? And everywhere in the world we go and ask these very simple questions,” he said, “we tend to get some really astonishing answers.”