CNN's Anthony Bourdain dead at 61 - WNEM TV 5

CNN's Anthony Bourdain dead at 61

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Anthony Bourdain, a gifted storyteller and writer who took CNN viewers around the world, has died. He was 61.

CNN confirmed Bourdain's death on Friday and said the cause of death was suicide.

"It is with extraordinary sadness we can confirm the death of our friend and colleague, Anthony Bourdain," the network 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."

Bourdain was in France working on an upcoming episode of his award-winning CNN series "Parts Unknown." His close friend Eric Ripert, the French chef, found Bourdain unresponsive in his hotel room Friday morning.

"Tony was an exceptional talent," CNN President Jeff Zucker said 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."

Bourdain was a master of his crafts -- first in the kitchen and then in the media. Through his TV shows and books, he explored the human condition and helped audiences think differently about food, travel and themselves. He advocated for marginalized populations and campaigned for safer working conditions for restaurant staffs.

Along the way, he received practically every award the industry has to offer.

In 2013, Peabody Award judges honored Bourdain and "Parts Unknown" for "expanding our palates and horizons in equal measure."

"He's irreverent, honest, curious, never condescending, never obsequious," the judges said. "People open up to him and, in doing so, often reveal more about their hometowns or homelands than a traditional reporter could hope to document."

The Smithsonian once called him "the original rock star" of the culinary world, "the Elvis of bad boy chefs."

In 1999 he wrote a New Yorker article, "Don't Eat Before Reading This," that became a best-selling book in 2000, "Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly."

The book set him on a path to international stardom.

First he hosted "A Cook's Tour" on the Food Network, then moved to "Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations" on the Travel Channel. "No Reservations" was a breakout hit, earning two Emmy Awards and more than a dozen nominations.

In 2013 both Bourdain and CNN took a risk by bringing him to the news network still best known for breaking news and headlines. Bourdain quickly became one of the principal faces of the network and one of the linchpins of the prime time schedule.

Season 11 of "Parts Unknown" premiered on CNN last month.

Explore Parts Unknown: Everywhere he traveled

While accepting the Peabody award in 2013, Bourdain described how he approached his work.

"We ask very simple questions: What makes you happy? What do you eat? What do you like to cook? And everywhere in the world we go and ask these very simple questions," he said, "we tend to get some really astonishing answers."

Bourdain's death happened after fashion designer Kate Spade hanged herself in an apparent suicide at her Manhattan apartment on Tuesday.

Suicide is a growing problem in the United States. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a survey Thursday showing suicide rates increased by 25% across the United States over nearly two decades ending in 2016. Twenty-five states experienced a rise in suicides by more than 30%, the government report finds.

If you or someone you know might be at risk of suicide, here are ways to help:

Call 1-800-273-8255 to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. It provides free and confidential support 24 hours a day, seven days a week for people in suicidal crisis or distress. You can learn more about its services here, including its guide on what to do if you see suicidal language on social media. You can also call 1-800-273-8255 to talk to someone about how you can help a person in crisis. Call 1-866-488-7386 for the TrevorLifeline, a suicide prevention counseling service for the LGBTQ community.

Text HOME to 741741 to have a confidential text conversation with a trained crisis counselor from Crisis Text Line. Counselors are available 24/7. You can learn more about how their texting service works here.

For online chat, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides a confidential chat window, with counselors available 24/7. Boys Town also provides counselors for youth-specific online chat at this link. It is available every Monday through Friday between 6 p.m. and midnight in the Central time zone.

To reach a counselor for LGTBQ-specific

For crisis support in Spanish, call 1-888-628-9454. For support outside of the US, a worldwide directory of resources and international hotlines is provided by the International Association for Suicide Prevention. You can also turn to Befrienders Worldwide.

Another way to help is by supporting the nonprofits that provide suicide counseling, prevention and education. Volunteers are needed, and some train to become counselors.

Online donations for some of these organizations can be made by clicking the button above.

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