Celebrity US chef, TV host Bourdain dies

Scott Malone

US celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain, host of CNN's food-and-travel-focused Parts Unknown television series, has died in a French hotel room, officials say. He was 61.

Bourdain, whose career catapulted him from washing dishes at New York restaurants to dining in Vietnam with former US president Barack Obama, was found dead in a hotel room near Strasbourg, France, where he had been working on an upcoming episode of his program, CNN said.

Investigators were treating the death in Kaysersberg, France, as a suicide, local prosecutor Christian de Rocquigny said in a telephone interview on Friday.

It is the second high-profile suicide of a US celebrity this week.

His death comes three days after American designer Kate Spade, who built a fashion empire on her signature handbags, was took her own life in her New York apartment on Tuesday.

"He taught us about food -- but more importantly, about its ability to bring us together," Obama tweeted on Friday, along with a picture showing the two drinking beer in Hanoi. "To make us a little less afraid of the unknown. We'll miss him."

President Donald Trump called Bourdain's death "very shocking".

"I enjoyed his show, he was quite a character," Trump told reporters at the White House.

"Tony's restless spirit will roam the earth in search of justice, truth and a great bowl of noodles," award-winning chef Tom Colicchio said of Bourdain on Twitter.

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