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Food author Anthony Bourdain was a rare icon of the 21st century who did not represent a corporatist agenda. He was publicly annoyed at the overt commercialism of the celebrity cooking industry while noting the irony of his own transformation into a celebrity chef. He acted like a rock star (when these still existed) and that’s how many saw him.

In his last interview with Fast Company, Anthony Bourdain talked about the singular creative freedom that he enjoyed and about how the biggest fear of everyone he knew in the business was that they would “not be in the television industry next year; that they’ll say something or do something or make a decision that will be so unpopular that they will lose their gig and won’t end up back on television. I don’t have that fear.”

The two-time Emmy Award-winner was on location filming the eleventh season of CNN’s most-watched show while dating Asia Argento, a successful TV actress/director 20 years his junior when he was declared dead of an “apparent suicide,” having hung himself from a doorknob with his hotel bathrobe belt.

To the casual observer, Bourdain didn’t seem like a man on the verge of suicide but he had struggled with suicidal ideation for decades. Even though he was an artist who’d basically achieved the impossible, by positively impacting millions of people, becoming a self-made millionaire and retaining creative control over his work, none of this was a match for his depressive illness.

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Alexandra Bruce

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