This morning, the world awoke to the tragic news that Anthony Bourdain had passed away at the age of 61.
"Celebrity chef" is the descriptor that's used most often in reference to Bourdain, but it's a woefully inadequate encapsulation of a career that brought him to the farthest reaches of the globe and into the lives of millions of fans.
Bourdain may have been a chef first and foremost, but he was also a writer and world traveler, a restaurateur and a raconteur.
The news that he took his own life comes as an almost unimaginable shock, not only because the food world has lost one of its most beloved figures, but also because Bourdain was a man whose talent for delighting in everything that life had to offer was one of his defining traits.
We may never get a satisfactory answer to the question of what drove Bourdain to despair in his final hours, and the details that have emerged thus far have only served to deepen the mystery.
What we know so far is that Bourdain was in northeastern France shooting an episode of his CNN series Parts Unknown.
He was in the company of his longtime friend and fellow world-famous chef Eric Ripert.
“I like to bring the distinguished three-star Michelin chef and good friend Eric Ripert someplace every year and torture him,“ Bourdain once said of his lifelong traveling companion.
A police report obtained by Page Six indicates that Bourdain died by hanging, and it was Ripert who discovered his body.
“We learned this morning about the death by hanging of an American chef at a luxury hotel of Kaysersberg, Le Chambard,” a prosecutor in Kaysersberg-Vignoble told French newspaper Dernière Nouvelle D’alsace.
“At this point, nothing suggests the intervention of a third party.”
Details remain scarce, but it is believed that Bourdain did not leave a note.
At the time of his passing, Bourdain was dating actress Asia Argento, and those who knew the couple best reported that they were madly in love with one another.
Argento was reportedly in Rome at the time of Bourdain's death.
In the hours before his passing, she posted an Instagram story in which she could be seen wearing a t-shirt that reads, “F— EVERYONE.”
She captioned the image, "You know who you are."
Many have taken the post as an indicator of trouble in the relationship, but just moments ago, Argento posted a loving tribute to her departed life partner:
"Anthony gave all of himself in everything he did," Argento wrote.
"His brilliant, fearless spirit touched and inspired so many, and his generosity knew no bounds."
"He was my love, my rock, my protector. I am beyond devastated. My thoughts are with his family. I would ask that you respect their privacy and mine."
All across the internet, fans, fellow chefs, and a legion of adoring fans have paid tribute to Bourdain, a man whose adventurous life and legacy will surely continue to serve as an inspiration for generations of food lovers and travelers.
“We ask very simple questions: What makes you happy? What do you eat? What do you like to cook?" Bourdain said while accepting a Peabody Award for his work in 2013.
"And everywhere in the world we go and ask these very simple questions, we tend to get some really astonishing answers.”
Bourdain's love of food was matched only by his love of people, and his generous spirit will be greatly missed.