Carl Ruiz, Former Food Network Star, Dead at 44

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Awful news today out of the world of reality television and cooking:

Carl Ruiz, a well-known chef who appeared on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and more of Guy Fieri's programs, has died in his sleep.

He was 44 years old.

Carl Ruiz

The tragic news was confirmed on Sunday by social media personality Matt Farah, who was close to Ruiz and who announced that his friend passed away on Saturday night from a heart attack.

"I'm heartbroken that my friend chef Carl Ruiz is gone," Fieri tweeted after the news went public.

He added:

"I have no words to describe what a great friend he was to me and my family. His ability to make me laugh and smile under any circumstances was only outshined by his talent as a chef.

"Over the years, I’ve met a lot of great people but a friend like Carl is one in a hundred million. Carl ’The Cuban’ Ruiz will forever live on in my heart and in those of all who loved him."

guy tweet

Ruiz's family restaurant -- Marie's Italian Specialties in Chatham Township, New Jersey -- was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives twice over the past few years.

Carl was later hired to appear on Fieri's shows Guy's Grocery Games and Guy's Ranch Kitchen.

The two chefs became very close as a result.

In June, Ruiz opened the restaurant La Cubana in New York City, from whose Instagram account there was posted a tribute earlier today.

"On behalf of the La Cubana family, with heavy hearts, we are deeply saddened to share the passing of our beloved Executive Chef Carl Ruiz," the post read.

It continued as follows:

"No words can fully express our sadness at the sudden loss of our dear friend and brother.

"Beyond his immense culinary talent, Carl's larger-than-life personality never failed to entertain, enlighten, and uplift every person he encountered along his #Ruizing adventures. His fierce intellect and infectious humor knew no bounds.

"He was a mighty force of down home Cuban cuisine, and lived life to the fullest, just as he cooked—with 'dancing always' as the most important ingredient."

carl r

This is how that in memoriam message concluded:

Here at La Cubana, Carl paid proud tribute to his Cuban roots each night, and it is here that Carl's legacy, undeniable spirit and passion for his culture will live on.

We hope we make you proud, Carlito. To honor the work you loved so much Chef, La Cubana will continue your work in establishing The Carl Ruiz Scholarship Foundation for aspiring chefs.

We love you! You are already missed. Rest easy.

And here is how Guys Grocery Games and Guy's Ranch Kitchen star Eric Greenspan saluted his late pal:

with ruiz

"RIP Carl Ruiz," Eric Greenspan wrote on Instagram, adding:

"You hear it a lot, but never could it be more true. The world is significantly worse without you. Heaven doesnt know what just hit it."

Fellow Food Network star Alex Guarnaschelli tweeted:

"This man was somehow fatherly, comforting, wise, reckless, brilliant, wickedly funny & unique all in 1. My life will be lonelier without him. Love you Carl.

"I'll make sure no one puts pineapple on pizza best I can without you here. #rip @carlruiz."

"Remember how Carl would sometimes say, 'That's it I'm leaving Twitter forever'? Then he would be back on 2 hours later with an update: a hotdog from somewhere special & a cackle of glee?" she added.

"Carl was a great cook & shared every moment of his life with us & I already miss it. #rip"

May he rest in peace.

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