Celebrity chef and television personality Anthony Bourdain has been discovered dead in his hotel room, aged 61. Bourdain was in Strasbourg, France, working his CNN series, “Parts Unknown.” The cause of death is thought to be suicide.
“It is with extraordinary sadness we can confirm the death of our friend and colleague, Anthony Bourdain,” CNN 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.”
“Tony was an exceptional talent,” CNN President Jeff Zucker wrote in an email to employees. “Tony will be greatly missed not only for his work but also for the passion with which he did it.”
Tributes, condolences and messages of utter shock have been pouring out through social media channels.
Tragically, Bourdain’s death comes less than a week after New York fashionista Kate Spade took her own life. Spade suffered from severe mental illness, including anxiety and depression.
“Kate was the most beautiful woman in the world. She was the kindest person I’ve ever known and my best friend for 35 years. My daughter and I are devastated by her loss, and can’t even begin to fathom life without her. We are deeply heartbroken and miss her already,” Spade’s widower, Andy, said in a family statement, as reported by the New York Times.
“Kate suffered from depression and anxiety for many years. She was actively seeking help and working closely with her doctors to treat her disease, one that takes far too many lives. We were in touch with her the night before and she sounded happy. There was no indication and no warning that she would do this. It was a complete shock. And it clearly wasn’t her. There were personal demons she was battling.”
Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain each taking their lives in a short period of time is a bleak reminder that money nor fame can cure depression and is worth so very little.
Be kind to others. You dont know what they are going through.
— Denizcan Grimes (@MrFilmkritik) June 8, 2018
The suicides of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade are chilling reminders of the stigma that still surrounds mental illness.
Depression is a medical condition. We need to create a world where people are as comfortable seeking care for their minds as they are for their bodies.
— Adam Grant (@AdamMGrant) June 8, 2018
My uncle committed suicide 37 years ago. It’s still incredibly painful for my grandmother, aunt and dad. You can live and live well, just call for help. 1-800-273-8255. It doesn’t have to be over, and it can get better. #AnthonyBourdain #KateSpade
— Kristen Johanson (@KristenJohanson) June 8, 2018
Deeply sad about Anthony Bourdain, who committed suicide at 61. Coming just after Kate Spade, we need to remind ourselves that while depression is a deadly illness it is a treatable one. If you’re feeling depressed, please reach out to a friend, loved one, or call 1-800-273-8255.
— Eugene Gu, MD (@eugenegu) June 8, 2018
In the wake of these two high-profile suicides, columnist Bethany S. Mandel penned an exceptionally eye-opening piece in the New York Post, reflecting on her own loss and imploring readers to think of those left behind in such tragic circumstances. Mandel’s father took his own life when she was just 19.
“Spade and my father had little in common outside of their ages and their chosen method of death, except, seemingly, their struggles with mental illness,” she wrote. “Mental illness doesn’t discriminate by wealth or success; it can happen to one of the most famous fashion designers in the world or a truck driver on Long Island.”
Despite Spade leaving a note to her 13-year-old daughter which pleaded with her not to blame herself for her mother’s death, Mandel says that the pain and suffering an inescapable element of thig girl’s life from now on.
“In the coming days and weeks, we’ll see remembrances of Spade as a fashion icon and a strong woman pioneer, making an indelible mark on her industry. In its obituary for the visionary, The New York Times described her as the woman whose handbags carried girls into adulthood,” Mandel wrote. “But beyond the tragedy of Spade’s death, there is the weight of the tragedy her daughter will carry into adulthood. While Spade assured her daughter “it had nothing to do with you,” it will have everything to do with Frances for the rest of her life.”
“In the wake of high-profile suicides like Spade’s, there is a great deal of discussion about the person who committed the deed and far too little about the survivors, who are especially in need of support and guidance.”
When you end things you're not just ending the pain of today, but also denying yourself and your loved ones the possibility of a better tomorrow. My dad had better tomorrows on the horizon. I wish he had been able to stick around for them.
— Bethany S. Mandel (@bethanyshondark) June 8, 2018
Suicide is becoming an increasingly concerning health issue in the United States. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a survey Thursday that indicated suicide rates increased by 25% across the United States over nearly two decades ending in 2016. The report found that twenty-five states experienced a rise in suicides by more than 30% in this time period.
As Mandel noted in her article, “Suicide is one of the top causes of death in the country across demographics, and one of the least funded or researched.” This needs to change.
In 2016, there were 44,965 recorded suicides in the US. Suicide is the second leading cause of death in young adults.
If you or a loved one is contemplating suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. The free and confidential line operates 24/7 and can provide critical support.