Anthony Bourdain, an Advocate of Food, Culture, and Social Justice, Has Died

Anthony Bourdain, one of the good guys, is gone.

CNN is reporting that the former chef, storyteller, world traveler, and writer, died of an apparent suicide. He was 61.

“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.”

Ride the HIGH country

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Bourdain was more than just a guy talking about food on TV — and you could see his humanity especially when on his CNN show “Parts Unknown.” He would meet people from far off lands, converse with them, eat in their homes, get to know complete strangers and make you feel as if they had always been family. Bourdain would partake in the most bizarre meals and make you desire a taste. He was inviting, warm, and dark — but in a genuine way, never frightening. That’s how he came off on his show anyway.

Then there was the man who spoke out about hard-working immigrants. During the 2015 presidential election, Bourdain was very up front about immigrants and their valuable contribution to this country. He was one of the first people, with true clout, that wasn’t afraid to say exactly how he felt about him.

“I have utter contempt for him, utter and complete contempt,” Bourdain once said about Trump.

Then there was the man who spoke out about the problem with men. It was extraordinary to witness — not only support his girlfriend, actress Asia Argento, through her brutal ordeal with Harvey Weinstein — but also understand the problem at its core.

Bourdain discussed the “MeToo” movement, and the role he played in it as well.

“I’m angry and I’ve seen it up close and I’ve been hearing firsthand from a lot of women,” Bourdain said to Slate. “Also, I guess I’m looking back on my own life. I’m looking back on my own career and before, and for all these years women did not speak to me.”

Bourdain talked about women finally opening up to him about things that happened to them, and how they never told him about it.

“But I had to ask myself, particularly given some things that I’m hearing, and the people I’m hearing them about: Why was I not the sort of person, or why was I not seen as the sort of person, that these women could feel comfortable confiding in? I see this as a personal failing,” Bourdain said last year.

Bourdain loved life. He loved the little things. You could see that on his Instagram stories. He would find the artistic value in those most mundane things like a hotel wall or a balcony railing. And it was so beautiful to view his stories because he made you feel like you were right there with him.

“I like scoring them, music first and then I try to have some banal imagery and then food porn,” Bourdain said to Time. “That’s like shooting fish in a barrel.”

His contribution to how we experience life and culture is unforgettable.

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.

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