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French prosecutor reveals details of celebrated US chef Bourdain's suicide

Drew Angerer, Getty Images, AFP | Notes, photographs and flowers are left in memory of Anthony Bourdain at the closed location of Brasserie Les Halles, where Bourdain used to work as the executive chef, on June 8, 2018 in New York City.
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The prosecutor of Colmar in France's Alsace region says that US writer and celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain hanged himself in the bathroom of his French hotel room.


French authorities say that writer and celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain died by hanging himself in the bathroom at a luxury hotel, the Chambard, in the village of Kaysersberg in the Haut-Rhin region of Alsace.

>> Read more: US celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain dies in France at 61

French prosecutor Christian de Rocquigny du Fayel said, "At this stage, we have no reason to suspect foul play."

Bourdain, 61, committed suicide while in France filming an episode of his Emmy-winning CNN food and travel programme "Parts Unknown".

CNN said Bourdain's body was found in his hotel room by his close friend Eric Ripert, the French executive chef of New York restaurant Le Bernardin.

Bourdain, the gregarious American celebrity chef and author who shared his insatiable curiosity for the world's food and cultures with millions through his popular television shows, died at the age of 61.

Bourdain's sudden death drew tributes from around the world -- from current as well as former US presidents to celebrated chefs to his dedicated fans who joined him vicariously on his globe-trotting travels.

"Anthony was my best friend," Ripert said on Twitter. "An exceptional human being, so inspiring & generous."

"His love of great adventure, new friends, fine food and drink and the remarkable stories of the world made him a unique storyteller," CNN said in a statement.

"His talents never ceased to amaze us and we will miss him very much."

A gifted storyteller, Bourdain promoted haute cuisine and street food alike in his travels, encouraging viewers to "eat and drink with people without fear and prejudice".

"We ask very simple questions: What makes you happy? What do you eat? What do you like to cook?" Bourdain said in a 2014 Peabody Award acceptance speech.

"And everywhere in the world, we go and ask these simple questions. We tend to get really astonishing answers."

'To make us a little less afraid'

Bourdain delighted in introducing people to new cuisines. In one episode of "Parts Unknown", he showed former US president Barack Obama how to slurp Vietnamese noodles at a restaurant in Hanoi.

"He taught us about food -- but more importantly, about its ability to bring us together," Obama said in a tweet. "To make us a little less afraid of the unknown. We'll miss him."

After a start washing dishes in a restaurant, the New York-born Bourdain gradually rose through the ranks to become a chef.

His 2000 best-seller "Kitchen Confidential" introduced readers to the workers toiling anonymously behind the scenes in American restaurants, many of whom are Spanish-speaking immigrants.

The book kicked off his celebrity career and led to his becoming a television host.

'Beyond devastated'

Bourdain rhapsodised about the joys of food and drink but was candid about his struggles with his own demons, including alcohol and drug abuse and depression.

He leaves behind a young daughter Ariane, from his relationship with his ex-wife Ottavia Busia.

He had been dating Italian actress Asia Argento since 2017 and became an outspoken advocate for the #MeToo movement after she revealed she had been sexually assaulted by the movie producer Harvey Weinstein.

Argento said she was "beyond devastated" by his death and asked for privacy both for herself and his family.

"His brilliant, fearless spirit touched and inspired so many, and his generosity knew no bounds," Argento said on Twitter. "He was my love, my rock, my protector."

According to statistics released on Thursday by the US Centers for Disease Control, the suicide rate across the United States has risen 30 percent since 1999, and nearly 45,000 people took their lives in 2016.

Suicide presents a "growing public health problem", with significant increases in 44 of the 50 states, said the CDC report.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP)

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