PARIS — American TV celebrity and food writer Anthony Bourdain was found dead in his hotel room Friday in France while working on his CNN series on culinary traditions around the world. He was 61.
CNN confirmed the death, saying that Bourdain was found unresponsive Friday morning by friend and chef Eric Ripert in the French city of Strasbourg. It called his death a suicide.
Bourdain achieved celebrity status after the publication in 2000 of his best-selling book "Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly." The book created a sensation by combining frank details of his life and career with behind-the-scenes observations on the culinary industry. It was a rare crossover — a book intended for professional cooks that had enormous mass appeal.
Bourdain went on to achieve widespread fame thanks to his CNN series "Parts Unknown" — and was filming an upcoming segment for the program when he was found dead, according to CNN.
CNN chief executive Jeff Zucker sent a note to staff saying the circumstances of the death are still unclear but that "we do know that Tony took his own life."
"Tony was an exceptional talent. A storyteller. A gifted writer. A world traveler. An adventurer. He brought something to CNN that no one else had ever brought before," Zucker said in the letter. "This is a very, very sad day."
Strasbourg police, emergency services and regional authorities did not immediately have information about the death. Bourdain's assistant Laurie Woolever would not comment when reached by The Associated Press.
Celebrity Chefs, fans and U.S. President Donald Trump were among those stunned and saddened by the news.
"I want to extend to his family my heartfelt condolences," Trump said.
Jamie Oliver wrote on Instagram that Bourdain "really broke the mould ... he leaves chefs and fans around the world with a massive foodie hole that simply can't be replaced." Chef Yotam Ottolenghi tweeted "Shocking and sad!" while Nigella Lawson tweeted she was "Heartbroken."
"Bourdain's exceptional writing made this one formerly picky, fearful eater very brave and want to try everything and I'll always be grateful for him and the worlds he opened," tweeted Lin-Manuel Miranda.
U.S. television personalities Megyn Kelly and Stacy London offered condolences and urged those who needed help to contact suicide prevention hotlines.
Bourdain's death came three days after fashion designer Kate Spade committed suicide in her Park Avenue apartment in New York. Spade's husband and business partner said the 55-year-old business mogul had suffered from depression and anxiety for many years.
Bourdain's "Parts Unknown" seemed like an odd choice for CNN when it started in 2013 — part travelogue, part history lesson, part love letter to exotic foods. Each trip was an adventure. There had been nothing quite like it on the staid news network, and it became an immediate hit.
He mixed a coarseness and whimsical sense of adventurousness, true to the rock 'n' roll music he loved.
"We are constantly asking ourselves, first and foremost, what is the most (messed) up thing we can do next week?" he said in a 2014 interview with the AP.
Besides showcasing food, a "Parts Unknown" trip to Japan in the series' first season included an odd show with robots and scantily clad women, a visit with a death metal band and a meal shared with a woman involved in the city's sadomasochistic community.