Gutted. Gobsmacked. Depressed. The news of Anthony Bourdain’s suicide has hit me hard.
Miller Mobley, Feb 2017
He was a role model: a great teller of tales; a lover of travel, food, culture, and people; a man who looked at his part in our “meathead” culture and tried to better himself. His presence seemed ubiquitous, with new stories of trips and meals and interviews coming non-stop. The promise of future decades of exploration, adventure, and stories seemed guaranteed.
President Obama tweeted a tribute following Tony’s death:
‘Low plastic stool, cheap but delicious noodles, cold Hanoi beer.’ This is how I’ll remember Tony. He taught us about food — but more importantly, about its ability to bring us together. To make us a little less afraid of the unknown. We’ll miss him.
Besides my sadness for Mr Bourdain’s† suffering, I’m holding a thought for the receptionist who found his body, chef Éric Ripert and the Parts Unknown crew who were traveling with him through Kaysersberg-Vignoble, Alsace, France, and his family and close friends.
† Hereafter ‘Tony’, because that’s what he liked to be called, and because it’s clunky to keep typing ‘Mr Bourdain’.
Anderson Cooper, teased by Tony to try new foods, said (on the CNN Remembering Anthony Bourdain special):
Honestly, it’s hard to even talk about him in the past tense at this point. It’s hard to imagine. You never know what goes on in anyone’s head and you never really know what’s really going on in anyone’s heart. But certainly, the pain he must have been feeling, at least in that moment, or in those moments, and the loneliness he must have been feeling, it’s just terribly sad to think about, and it makes me very sad for him to have succumbed to that.
He is absolutely the last person in the world I would have ever dreamed would do something like this. He had everything. Success beyond his wildest dreams. Money beyond his wildest dreams. – Gladys Bourdain, his mother, about his suicide
I know you are on a Ferry going to somewhere amazing… You still had so many places to show us, whispering to our souls the great possibilities beyond what we could see with our own eyes. You only saw beauty in all people. You will always travel with me. – @ChefJoseAndres
His wisdom, his insight, his humor, his compassion, his staunch resistance to the inauthentic and support of all that resonates from the heart, and his passion for life that he shared with us… It’s difficult to process a world without Anthony Bourdain. – @elijahwood
@bourdain, 30 May 2018
His suicide brought sharing and a discussion about depression and mental health:
- Depression isn’t a form of sadness. It’s not something that goes away if you just think about how good you have it or how successful you are. You can’t positivity it away. It lies to you about yourself and eats you from the inside and tells you that you alone make things worse. – @MikeDrucker
- Saddened about #AnthonyBourdain. Depression and mental illness can affect anybody. Someone you know could be struggling. Don’t underestimate your ability to help them. – @DaleJr (Dale Earnheardt Jr)
- Mental health can impact anyone. It does not discriminate. If you are struggling, you are not alone. It’s ok to be fucked up. It’s ok to ask for help. It’s going to be ok. Rest in Light, @Bourdain. Thanks for taking us on all your adventures. – @Alyssa_Milano
- Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain both led what millions of people would consider dream lives. Their suicides are a stark testament to the horrible power of depression. Let’s hope this become a clarion call for people to seek help. – @IowaHawkBlog
- I’ve brushed up against this darkness and I know it’s a tempting exit but REACH OUT to ANYONE. Stay on this side of it — in the light and warmth. Where you get to try again, every day. – Comedian @PattonOswalt
- Damn it, Tony. Why? I’ll always love you, pal. Always be grateful. Never gonna stop wondering why, though. My heart is with you, wherever you are. Sending strength to your daughter. Thank you, thank you – a thousand thousand thank you’s for everything. – @AdamRichman
The time spent mourning the tales that now won’t be told can be spent in the literary canon he penned or some of the writings he inspired:
- Anthony Bourdain and the ‘Silent Epidemic of Male Suicide’ – “…nearly 600,000 Americans over the age of 54 watched Bourdain’s show each week…”
- Anthony Bourdain Was the Best White Man – “He kicked it with grandma because he knew that HE was the one that needed to catch up to our brilliance.”
- The Best of Anthony Bourdain – “He left his mark in restaurant kitchens and libraries — both fiction and nonfiction — and redefined the genre of food-tourism shows.”