PARIS (CBSNewYork/AP) — There’s no evidence of foul play or violence in celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain’s death in a French hotel room, a French prosecutor said Saturday.
The famed cook, writer and host of the CNN series “Parts Unknown” killed himself Friday in a luxury hotel in the ancient village of Kaysersberg, Christian de Rocquigny, the prosecutor of Colmar in France’s eastern Alsace region, told The Associated Press in a phone interview.
Rocquigny said there did not appear to be much planning in the television personality’s suicide.
“There is no element that makes us suspect that someone came into the room at any moment,” he said, adding that a medical expert had concluded that there were no signs of violence on Bourdain’s body.
His friend, French chef Eric Ripert, found him unresponsive in his hotel room Friday morning, CNN said.
“He was an exceptional human being, so inspiring and generous. One of the great storytellers of our time who connected with so many around the world on a level rarely seen,” Ripert said. “He brought us all on some incredible journeys. I pray he is at peace from the bottom of my heart. My love and prayers are also with his family, friends, loved ones and everyone that knew him.”
Rocquigny said toxicology tests were being carried on Bourdain’s body, including urine tests, to see if the 61-year-old American took any medications or other drugs, in an effort to help his family understand if anything led him to kill himself.
Olivier Nasti, the chef and owner of Le Chambard, the luxury hotel in Kaysersberg where Bourdain took his life, paid tribute to his colleague Saturday.
“It is with great respect for the leader, the author, the TV entertainer, the visionary Anthony Bourdain that I express all my condolences to his family and to the anonymous people around the world who he made dream so much,” Nasti said in a statement Saturday.
“It is the whole family of French gastronomy that joins me, to renew our deep friendship to our bereaved American brothers,” he added.
Bourdain was born in New York City and raised in Leonia, New Jersey. He was divorced twice and has a daughter from his second marriage.
He graduated from the Dwight Englewood school in in 1973 and then graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in 1978, moving onto several New York City restaurants. He became executive chef at Brasserie Les Halles in 1998.
Leading up to that, he wrote an expose for New Yorker Magazine and CBS2 did this report with him, interviewing him in April Of 1999.
He took viewers behind the scenes into the kitchens, where he was a whistleblower, advocating for cleanliness, healthier food and better working conditions for staff.
“I was in a cranky mood after my last restaurant closed and felt no reason not to tell the truth about a business I both love and have mixed emotions about,” Bourdain told CBS2 in 1999.
His first book in 2000, “Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly” catapulted him to fame.
He had written that his love of food began as a youth while on a family vacation in France, when he ate his first oyster. He was candid about his personal struggles, saying that drug use led to his dropping out of Vassar College after two years.
In 2016, Bourdain spoke with CBS News’ Anthony Mason.
“I think when you travel as much as I have, you, I don’t want to say I’m more humble, but I think you become aware of how other people live, how hard their lives are, how big the world is and then of course fatherhood changes everything,” Bourdain said. “At that moment, you stop being the star of the film. For me, that was an enormous relief and a gift.”
Bourdain’s death came a day after the New York City medical examiner determined designer Kate Spade’s death earlier this week was a suicide.
Editor’s note: The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number is 1-800-273-8255. You can also learn more and chat with them online by clicking here.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)