CNN star Anthony Bourdain dead of suicide in France

Headline corrected: Bourdain died in Strasbourg, not Paris.

Another successful and widely known figure has committed suicide, two days after fashion icon Kate Spade took her own life.  His employer, CNN writes:

Anthony Bourdain, a gifted storyteller and writer who took CNN viewers around the world, has died.  He was 61.

CNN confirmed Bourdain's death on Friday and said the cause of death was suicide.

"It is with extraordinary sadness we can confirm the death of our friend and colleague, Anthony Bourdain," the network said in a statement Friday morning.  "His love of great adventure, new friends, fine food and drink and the remarkable stories of the world made him a unique storyteller.  His talents never ceased to amaze us and we will miss him very much.  Our thoughts and prayers are with his daughter and family at this incredibly difficult time."

Bourdain was in France working on an upcoming episode of his award-winning CNN series "Parts Unknown."  His close friend Eric Ripert, the French chef, found Bourdain unresponsive in his hotel room Friday morning.

CNN has lost a ratings and profits star.  His last episode, June 3, won the Sunday 9 P.M. Eastern slot in the key demo (link requires registration), and the show is a perennial ratings and profits champion for the cable news outlet, as  TV by the Numbers reported a few weeks ago.

I have watched more than a few of Bourdain's programs, often torn between the compelling people and foods he encountered in his travels and my negative reactions to his ego and political views.  Bourdain was outspoken on what he regarded as the injustice of enforcement of immigration laws, admitting that a large segment of the workforce populating restaurant kitchens were not present in the United States legally.

He rocketed to fame with the publication of his bestselling book Kitchen Confidential, described on its back cover as follows:

A deliciously funny, delectably shocking banquet of wild-but-true tales of life in the culinary trade from Chef Anthony Bourdain, laying out his more than a quarter-century of drugs, sex, and haute cuisine.

There is no denying his storytelling prowess, and I never begrudged him his success and television prominence, even though people I know in the restaurant world, as jealous and gossipy as any entertainment business, sometimes had harsh things to say about him.  Reportedly, he had an addiction to heroin for some years.

Brit Hume's tweet after the death of Kate Spade is the best advice I have seen for processing the suicides of people who seem to have it all:

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