Carl Ruiz: Food Network Star's Cause of Death Revealed

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The world of celebrity chefs was shocked last month by the passing of Carl Ruiz, star of such popular Food Network shows as Guy's Grocery Games.

Ruiz was just 44 years old.

Carl Ruiz

At the time, Ruiz's cause of death was unknown.

Now, the Maryland Department of Health has confirmed that the celebrity chef star died in his sleep last month after succumbing to atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.

E! News describes the disease as "a buildup of fats, cholesterol and other substances in the arteries and restricts blood flow."

In addition to revealing the cause of death, this week's Department of Health report listed Ruiz's death as natural and ruled out any foul play.

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In addition to his work as a beloved television personality, Ruiz was a highly regarded restaurant owner, whose La Cubana has become a sought-after NYC hotspot in recent years.

Throughout his career, Ruis worked closely with the Food Network's best-known star, Guy Fieri.

In addition to his work on Guy's Grocery Games, Ruiz made regular appearances on Fieri's Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.

"I'm heartbroken that my friend chef Carl Ruiz is gone," Fieri tweeted after receiving news of Ruiz's passing.

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"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."

"This man was somehow fatherly, comforting, wise, reckless, brilliant, wickedly funny & unique all in 1," added fellow Food Network star Alex Guarnaschelli.

"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."

"Good buddy of mine is gone. He made people laugh who'd forgotten how to laugh," celebrity chef Troy Johnson echoed.

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"He set rooms on fire. He was the match and the kerosene. The smartest and lovable-ist asshole I knew. This one gutted me. Goodnight, @carlruiz."

Following the iconic chef's death, his restaurant announced the foundation of the Carl Ruiz Scholarship, dedicated to the financial support of aspiring chefs attending culinary school.

Our thoughts go out to Ruiz's loved ones during this painful time.

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