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Chef, traveler and storyteller Anthony Bourdain found dead

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Anthony Bourdain poses with Italian actor and director Asia Argento

Anthony Bourdain poses with Italian actor and director Asia Argento for the Women In The World Summit in New York City April 12, 2018.

 

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Brendan McDermid/Reuters

Editor's note: Scroll to the bottom of this story for warning signs and resources if you or someone you know may be considering suicide.

Anthony Bourdain, host of CNN's food-and-travel-focused "Parts Unknown" television series, killed himself in a French hotel room, officials said on Friday. He was 61.

His death comes three days after American designer Kate Spade, who built a fashion empire on her signature handbags, was found dead of suicide in her New York apartment on Tuesday.

Suicide rates rose in nearly every US state from 1999 to 2016, according to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released Thursday, making it one of three leading causes of death that are on the rise, along with Alzheimer's disease and drug overdoses.

Suicide rates increased among people aged 45 to 64, according to the CDC report. The center recommended a broad approach to prevention, including boosting economic support by states, supporting family and friends after a suicide, and identifying and supporting those at risk.

'Culinary underbelly'

Bourdain, whose career catapulted him from washing dishes at New York restaurants to dining in Vietnam with President Barack Obama, died by suicide in a hotel room near Strasbourg, France, where he had been working on an upcoming episode of his program, CNN said.

Bourdain climbed the culinary career ladder to become executive chef at New York's former Brasserie Les Halles restaurant.

His fame began to grow exponentially in 1999 when the New Yorker magazine published his article "Don't Eat Before Reading This," which he developed into the bestselling book, "Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly," which was published in 2000.

Brash and opinionated, he also spoke openly about his use of drugs and addiction to heroin earlier in his life.

He went on to host television programs, 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."

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 roamed from out-of-the-way restaurants to the homes of locals, providing what the magazine called "communion with a foreign culture so unmitigated that it feels practically intravenous."

When Obama went to Hanoi, Vietnam, in May 2016, he met Bourdain at a casual restaurant for a $6 meal of noodles and grilled pork.

"He taught us about food — but more importantly, about its ability to bring us together," Obama tweeted on Friday, along with a picture showing the two drinking beer in Hanoi. "To make us a little less afraid of the unknown. We'll miss him."

President Donald Trump called Bourdain's death "very shocking."

"I enjoyed his show, he was quite a character," Trump told reporters at the White House.

Bourdain last year canceled plans to build a 155,000-square-foot international food hall on a pier on the Hudson River in New York, local media reported.

"Tony's restless spirit will roam the earth in search of justice, truth and a great bowl of noodles," award-winning chef Tom Colicchio said of Bourdain on Twitter.

The National Suicide Lifeline, which provides services for people experiencing suicidal thoughts, tweeted: "Please know you are never alone, no matter how dark or lonely things may seem. If you're struggling, reach out."

If you or someone you love may be thinking about suicide, there are resources available to help you. Be aware of the warning signs and know how to get help.

In the US, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). For veterans who may be in trouble, there's a dedicated hotline via the Department of Veterans Affairs — 1-800-273-8255, Press 1. If you prefer to text, the Crisis Text Line can be reached 24/7 by sending an SMS to 741-741.

If you're outside the US, there are resources available for you as well. In Canada, you can call — 1-833-456-4566, or send a text message to 45645. In the UK, the number is 116 123. For other countries, you can find a list of online and phone resources from the International Association for Suicide Prevention.

Warning Signs of Suicide

  • Talking about wanting to die

  • Looking for a way to kill oneself

  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no purpose

  • Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain

  • Talking about being a burden to others

  • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs

  • Acting anxious, agitated, or recklessly

  • Sleeping too little or too much

  • Withdrawing or feeling isolated

  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge

  • Displaying extreme mood swings

Source: Reporting on Suicide

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