SHOCK SUICIDE: New York, NY, USA - April 16, 2016: Executive Producer Anthony Bourdain, Director Lydia Tenaglia and celebrity chef Jeremiah Tower attends the premiere of 'Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent' during the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival. PHOTO: Sam Aronov
SHOCK SUICIDE: New York, NY, USA - April 16, 2016: Executive Producer Anthony Bourdain, Director Lydia Tenaglia and celebrity chef Jeremiah Tower attends the premiere of 'Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent' during the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival. PHOTO: Sam Aronov

Boston — US celebrity chef and author Anthony Bourdain, host of CNN’s food and travel focused Parts Unknown television series, killed himself, reportedly by hanging, in a French hotel room, CNN said on Friday. He was 61.

Bourdain, whose career catapulted him from cooking at New York’s top restaurants to dining in Vietnam with president Barack Obama, was found dead in a hotel room in Strasbourg, France, where he had been working on an upcoming episode of his programme, CNN said in a statement.

Bourdain’s profile began to soar in 1999, when the New Yorker magazine published his article, Don’t Eat Before Reading This, which he developed into the 2000 book, Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly. He went on to host TV programmes, first on the Food Network and the Travel Channel, before joining CNN in 2013.

"His love of great adventure, new friends, fine food and drink and the remarkable stories of the world made him a unique storyteller," the network said in a statement. "His talents never ceased to amaze us and we will miss him very much."

Bourdain told the New Yorker in 2017 that his idea for Parts Unknown, which was in its 11th season, was traveling, eating and doing whatever he wanted. The show featured meals in both out-of-the-way restaurants and the homes of locals, providing what the magazine called "communion with a foreign culture so unmitigated that it feels practically intravenous."

Bourdain’s celebrity was such that when Obama went to Hanoi, Vietnam in May 2016, he met him at a casual restaurant for a $6 meal of noodles and grilled pork.

US President Donald Trump told reporters as he left the White House that Bourdain’s death was "very shocking." "I enjoyed his show, he was quite a character," Trump said.

With Gina Cherelus, Bill Trott and James Oliphant

Reuters

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