Celebrity chef and TV host Anthony Bourdain dead at 61

- Celebrity chef and author Anthony Bourdain, who hosted a food and travel show on CNN, was found dead in his hotel room in Kaysersberg, a small town in France, early Friday, the network said. He was 61.

A local prosecutor said Bourdain apparently hanged himself, according to French media reports. Police are investigating the circumstances of his death, but the prosecutor was quoted as saying nothing "at this time" suggests foul play.

The Peabody Award-winner was in France working on an upcoming episode of his series Parts Unknown.

"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."

Eric Ripert, the famed executive chef of Le Bernardin, discovered Bourdain's body inside Le Chambard, a luxury hotel. On Twitter, Ripert said Bourdain was his "best friend."

"An exceptional human being, so inspiring & generous. One of the great storytellers who connected w so many," Ripert tweeted. "I pray he is at peace from the bottom of my heart. My love & prayers are also w his family, friends and loved ones."

Widely loved and rarely afraid to speak his mind, Bourdain achieved celebrity status after the publication in 2000 of his best-selling 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.

President Donald Trump tweeted his "heartfelt condolences" to Bourdain's family, which includes his 11-year-old daughter, Ariane. Jamie Oliver wrote on Instagram that Bourdain "really broke the mould [sic]... 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 "Hamilton" playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Bourdain's death came three days after fashion designer Kate Spade died by 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.

There has been an alarming upward trend of suicides in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A CDC report finds that suicides rose across the country in more than half of states by more than 30 percent between 1999 and 2016.

The causes range from financial stress to substance abuse to relationship issues. The report found that more than half of those who took their own life didn't have a diagnosed mental health condition. That is why CDC and mental health practitioners are calling for more education and awareness.

The CDC recommended that employers try to foster a healthy environment that reduces stigma about seeking help and that schools teach coping skills. The CDC also said that spreading the word about resources is very important.

One such resource is the Suicide Prevention hotline, which offers support 24 hours a day.

"If you or a loved one is feeling distressed, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The crisis center provides free and confidential emotional support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, or text 741-741."

With the Associated Press

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