Prosecutor: Bourdain Hanged Himself with Bathrobe Belt (Video)

PARIS (AP) — The prosecutor of Colmar in France’s Alsace region says that writer and celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain hanged himself in the bathroom of his French hotel room.

Prosecutor Christian de Rocquigny told The Associated Press on Saturday that the famed chef and host of the CNN series “Parts Unknown” used the belt of his hotel bath robe to commit suicide on Friday.

Of the 61-year-old American’s death, Rocquigny said “there is no element that makes us suspect that someone came into the room at any moment.” He also said a medical expert had concluded there were no signs of violence on Bourdain’s body.

The prosecutor said toxicology tests were being carried out, including urine tests, to see if Bourdain took any medications, to try to help his family understand if anything led him to kill himself.

For Bourdain, Food was a Storytelling Tool _ and a Passport

Many people thought Anthony Bourdain had the most enviable career in existence. He didn’t deny it.

“I have the best job in the world,” the globe-trotting food-taster and culinary storyteller once told the New Yorker magazine, stating the rather obvious. “If I’m unhappy, it’s a failure of imagination.”

Bourdain’s stunned fans were mourning the loss of that singular imagination on Friday following his death from an apparent suicide, recalling everything from his fearless consumption of a beating cobra’s heart or a sheep testicle — “like any other testicle,” he remarked — to his outspoken support of the #MeToo movement, to his blissful paean to syrup-soaked pecan waffles at Waffle House.

“I want it all,” he wrote in his breakthrough 2000 memoir, “Kitchen Confidential.” ”I want to try everything once.” And it seemed that he pretty much accomplished that, traveling the globe some 200 days a year for his TV shows, reveling not in fancy tasting menus — which he scorned — but in simple pleasures like a cold beer and spicy noodles in Hanoi, which he once shared with former President Barack Obama. For him, food, though a huge pleasure, was more importantly a storytelling tool, and a passport to the world at large.

It was a lifestyle that, while undeniably glamorous, took a toll, he suggested in a 2017 New Yorker profile. “I change location every two weeks,” he said. “I’m not going to remember your birthday. I’m not going to be there for the important moments in your life.”

Not surprisingly, it was on the road, in eastern France, that Bourdain, 61, was found unresponsive Friday morning by good friend and chef Eric Ripert. He’d been working on an episode for the 12th season of his CNN show, “Parts Unknown.” A prosecutor said he had apparently killed himself in a luxury hotel in the ancient village of Kaysersberg. He left behind an 11-year-old daughter, Ariane, from his second marriage. In a 2008 interview with The Associated Press, Bourdain had said his daughter’s birth had changed his outlook on life: “I feel obliged to at least do the best I can and not do anything really stupidly self-destructive if I can avoid it.”

At the time of his death, his girlfriend was Asia Argento, the Italian actress who has accused Harvey Weinstein of rape. In an essay written after fellow chef Mario Batali was accused of sexual assault, Bourdain wrote that “one must pick a side … I stand unhesitatingly and unwaveringly with the women.” Argento wrote on Twitter Friday that Bourdain “was my love, my rock, my protector.”

Traversing the globe meant visiting areas of conflict and also intense poverty, and Bourdain didn’t shy away from either. In “No Reservations” on the Travel Channel, he went to Haiti after the devastating earthquake in 2011, and reflected on his ambivalence at being there. “I’m there talking about local cuisine, and that means I’m shoveling food into my face … that a lot of those people can’t afford,” he said. And he described how his well-meaning efforts to feed locals around him led to chaos and “hungry kids being beaten with a stick.”

There was, of course, a more lighthearted side to his travels, including some wild and bizarre eating experiences. In Morocco, it was that roasted sheep’s testicle. In Canada, it was a raw seal’s eyeball. In Namibia, it was the wrong end of a warthog (he wound up with a parasite.) In Vietnam, it was the still-beating heart of a cobra that had just been sliced open.

Much closer to home — Bourdain lived in New York, when he wasn’t traveling — was a late-night visit to Waffle House in Charleston, South Carolina, described in poetic terms by Bourdain as “an irony-free zone where everything is beautiful and nothing hurts; where everybody regardless of race, creed, color or degree of inebriation is welcomed.” Sampling the pecan waffle drowning in butter and maple syrup, he exclaimed, “This is BETTER than French Laundry, man,” referring to the Napa Valley temple of high cuisine.

That clip was being widely shared on Friday, and fans were also flocking to Amazon, where at mid-afternoon, four of the six top-selling books were by Bourdain. “Kitchen Confidential” was No. 1.

In that acclaimed book, Bourdain, who born in New York City and raised in Leonia, New Jersey, candidly described his personal struggles, including drug use that led to his dropping out of Vassar College.

But he thrived in restaurant kitchens, and that work led him to the Culinary Institute of America, where he graduated in 1978. He eventually became executive chef at Brasserie Les Halles in 1998. In the preface to the latest edition of “Kitchen Confidential,” Bourdain wrote of his shock at the success of his book, which he managed to write by getting up at 5 a.m. before his kitchen shifts.

“The new celebrity chef culture is a remarkable and admittedly annoying phenomenon,” he wrote. “While it’s been nothing but good for business … few people are less suited to be suddenly thrown into the public eye than chefs.”

Fellow celebrity chefs didn’t always gain Bourdain’s respect or praise. Many earned his unfettered scorn. Among them: Alice Waters, whose insistence on organic food he once described as “very Khmer Rouge.” He called Sandra Lee “pure evil,” and worse. He called New Orleans chef Emeril Lagasse “Ewok-like,” and Guy Fieri’s Times Square eatery, Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar, a “terror-dome.”

But Lagasse became his friend, and he tweeted Friday: “Tony was a great soul, a mentor, a friend, a father, and an incredible chef.” His friend Ripert, the famed chef of Le Bernardin, called him “an exceptional human being, so inspiring and generous, one of the great storytellers of our time who connected with so many.” Saul Montiel, executive chef at the Mexican restaurant Cantina Roof Top in Manhattan, called Bourdain “one of the few chefs that valued the work of Latinos in the kitchen.”

Countless more wrote of their shock and sadness. Some noted that Bourdain’s death came just days after the suicide of fashion designer Kate Spade, also a great shock to those who knew her. Bourdain’s own mother, Gladys Bourdain, a longtime editor at The New York Times, said she had no indication that her son might have been thinking of suicide.

“He is absolutely the last person in the world I would have ever dreamed would do something like this,” she told the Times. “He had everything. Success beyond his wildest dreams. Money beyond his wildest dreams.”


By JOCELYN NOVECK , AP National Writer

AP Writers Sylvie Corbet and Elaine Ganley in Paris, Hillel Italie and David Bauder in New York contributed to this report.


ATHENS - Frenchman Baron Pierre de Coubertin so had his heart set in the modern Olympic Games that he created, the first in Athens in 1896, that when he died he had his heart buried near the spot where the ancient games were held, in Olympia.

Top Stories


A pregnant woman was driving in the HOV lane near Dallas.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.


Evzones March in the Rain to Greek Flag Raising at Bowling Green in NYC (VIDEO)

NEW YORK – The heavy rain did not deter the Hellenic Presidential Guard, the Evzones, and the participants in the march from St.

CAIRO  — On a clear night a year ago, a dozen heavily armed fighters broke into Omaima Farouq’s house in an upscale neighborhood in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum.

‘Mega Spileo’ is a name that travels through time and draws visitors to a breathtaking landscape – mountains, age-old forests, and slopes overgrown with vines that seem to float over steep cliffs and deep gorges.

ATHENS - Socialist PASOK leader Nikos Androulakis is keeping up a fusillade of criticism at Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, this time challenging him for a debate ahead of the elections for European Parliament in June.

ATHENS - Frenchman Baron Pierre de Coubertin so had his heart set in the modern Olympic Games that he created, the first in Athens in 1896, that when he died he had his heart buried near the spot where the ancient games were held, in Olympia.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. [email protected]

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.