Anthony Bourdain dead at 61: Celebrity chef's suicide sparks mental health debate

Anthony Bourdain
Anthony Bourdain Reuters

Chef-turned-TV personality Anthony Bourdain was found dead in France on the morning of Friday, June 8. CNN – the network he was most associated with – said in a statement that he had committed suicide.

As the world mourned his passing away, social media was abuzz with debates on mental health. Some, including Gordon Ramsay, even extended a helping hand by taking on the local Suicide Hotline number in tweets.

The 61-year-old Bourdain was the latest in the line of several celebrities who have committed suicide due to mental issues. The world had gone equally Numb last year when Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington had ended his life after a protracted battle with depression and stress.

The circumstances of his death

Bourdain was reportedly filming an upcoming episode of his popular TV show Parts Unknown and was staying in a hotel in France.

His body was discovered by his friend and popular French chef Eric Ripert. CNN said in its subsequent statement: "It is with extraordinary sadness we can confirm the death of our friend and colleague, Anthony Bourdain.

"His love of great adventure, new friends, fine food and drink and the remarkable stories of the world made him a unique storyteller."

The network also said: "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."

While it is not known exactly what drove Bourdain to suicide, some have pointed to his addiction to narcotics – particularly heroin – in his early days, while others have said he was tortured by the manner in which his current girlfriend Asia Argento was treated by disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.

Argento was one of first few actresses who accused Weinstein of sexual assault, opening the floodgates to such complaints from many other actresses. She also said at the 2018 Cannes festival in France that it had been Weinstein's "hunting ground."

Bourdain himself had been asked about these allegations, but he chose to stay quiet of his own volition.

Social media reaches out

Bourdain seems to have been the latest in the cases of high-profile suicides as a result of mental illness. Possibly the most famous of these cases was that of Robin Williams.

Thus, as news of Bourdain's suicide spread, people from all walks of life took to social media to spread some awareness of mental illness.

Gordon Ramsay was quick to tweet out the American suicide prevention hotline number, in the same tweet where he paid a tribute to Bourdain.

Some even pointed back to Bourdain's own quotes of when he spoke about his internal struggles.