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CNN pays homage to Bourdain with show that charts his career success and drug addiction


CNN has paid homage to its star Anthony Bourdain in a tribute show following the celebrity chef’s suicide on Friday.

The tribute show aired on Sunday night after a new episode of Bourdain’s show Parts Unknown, and tracked his rise through footage from past shows and interviews with CNN colleagues.

In one surprising moment, CNN anchor Jake Tapper revealed that Barack Obama’s appearance on the show was at the request of the then-President himself.

‘It was the Obama White House who reached out to CNN, and I put them in touch with Bourdain,’ said Tapper. ‘That’s who Anthony Bourdain was: Obama wanted to go have food with him not the other way around.’

The late Anthony Bourdain posted this snapshot of himself, sitting down for bun cha in a restaurant in Vietnam, with then-President Obama in 2016

The late Anthony Bourdain posted this snapshot of himself, sitting down for bun cha in a restaurant in Vietnam, with then-President Obama in 2016

Anderson Cooper was on the verge of tears as he discussed how Bourdain had inspired him

Anderson Cooper was on the verge of tears as he discussed how Bourdain had inspired him

In another interview, anchor Anderson Cooper was on the verge of tears as he discussed how Bourdain had inspired him. 

I just turned 51, and I remember thinking: “Wow if I could age like he is aging.” He was 61, and he was getting tattoos, doing jujitsu and he was just, he actually…’ Cooper said, trailing off to compose himself.

‘I was actually thinking about this two months ago, I was thinking about how he gave me hope for what one’s life could become at 61.’

In other footage originally shot for an episode of his show that aired in 2015, Bourdain got painfully honest with a group of recovering addicts in Massachusetts. 

‘I’ll tell you something really shameful about myself. The first time I shot up, I looked at myself in the mirror with a big grin,’ Bourdain told the group.

‘You know, something was missing in me, whether it was a self- image situation, whether it was a character flaw. I came from a stable family, the suburbs, you know, I had a lot of advantages. There was some dark genie inside me that I very much hesitate to call a disease, that led me to dope.’

Footage (above) of Bourdain's conversation with a group of recovering addicts in Massachusetts, originally shot for a 2015 episode of Parts Unknown, ran again in a CNN tribute

Footage (above) of Bourdain’s conversation with a group of recovering addicts in Massachusetts, originally shot for a 2015 episode of Parts Unknown, ran again in a CNN tribute

He continued: ‘You know, I didn’t have anyone else who could have talked me out of what I was doing, but intervention wouldn’t have worked. I didn’t have a child. I have a 7-year-old daughter now, who I never would have had. I never would have thought. I looked in a mirror and I saw somebody worth saving or that I wanted to at least try real hard and save.

‘You know, anybody can find them self very easily in this situation, and, you know, I look back on that and I think about, you know, I think about what I’ll tell my daughter, you know. 

‘You know, that was daddy. Ain’t no doubt about it, but I hope that I’ll be able to say that was daddy then, this is daddy now, that I’m alive and living in hope.’

Meanwhile, a chilling passage from Bourdain’s 2011 book Medium Raw has also resurfaced, in which he wrote that he was ‘regularly suicidal’ after he separated from his first wife. 

After his first marriage to wife Nancy Putkoski ended in 2005, Bourdain recalled that he was ‘aimless and regularly suicidal’.

During a particular stint in the Caribbean, he wrote of getting ‘the kind of drunk where you’ve got to put a hand over one eye to see straight’ and would ‘peel out’ in his 4×4 for nightly trips to the brothels.

Anthony Bourdain, pictured on June 4, hanged himself on Friday in his hotel room in Kaysersberg, France

Anthony Bourdain, pictured on June 4, hanged himself on Friday in his hotel room in Kaysersberg, France

Bourdain said his state of mind improved when he met a woman in London soon after.

He said that’s when his ‘nightly attempts at suicide ended’.

Bourdain had also previously been open about his past struggles with drugs and spoke of being a recovering heroin addict.

The chef married his second wife, MMA fighter Ottavia Busia – the mother of his only child – in 2007 but they split in 2016. 

He met his actress girlfriend Asia Argento when they shot an episode of his show Parts Unknown shortly after breaking things off with his wife Busia. 

Argento and Bourdain were seen together apparently happy as recently as two weeks ago prior to his shock suicide. 

Bourdain was found dead on Friday in his hotel room in Kaysersberg, France after hanging himself.   

After his first marriage to wife Nancy Putkoski (pictured) ended in 2005, Bourdain recalled that he was 'aimless and regularly suicidal'

He married his second wife Ottavia Busia (pictured) in 2007 but they split in 2016

After his first marriage to wife Nancy Putkoski (left) ended in 2005, Bourdain recalled that he was ‘aimless and regularly suicidal’. He married his second wife Ottavia Busia (right) in 2007 but they split in 2016

He met his actress girlfriend Asia Argento when they shot an episode of his show Parts Unknown shortly after breaking things off with Busia. Argento and Bourdain (above in September 2017) were seen together apparently happy as recently as two weeks ago prior to his shock suicide

He met his actress girlfriend Asia Argento when they shot an episode of his show Parts Unknown shortly after breaking things off with Busia. Argento and Bourdain (above in September 2017) were seen together apparently happy as recently as two weeks ago prior to his shock suicide

His chef friend Eric Ripert, who was the one to find Bourdain in the bathroom, knew something was wrong when he didn’t show up for their planned dinner.

Bourdain had been in the area filming an episode with his CNN crew for a segment on Alsatian food. 

Usually, the 61-year-old would eat breakfast and dinner at the hotel’s pub, the Winstub, with Ripert, the executive chef at Manhattan’s Le Bernadin.

‘We thought it was strange,’ waiter Maxime Voinson told The New York Times on Saturday. ‘Mr Ripert thought it was strange.’ 

On Friday morning, Bourdain again did not show up for breakfast.

His chef friend Eric Ripert, who was the one to find Bourdain in the bathroom, knew something was wrong when he didn't show up for their planned dinner 

His chef friend Eric Ripert, who was the one to find Bourdain in the bathroom, knew something was wrong when he didn’t show up for their planned dinner 

‘His friend was waiting at breakfast,’ the waiter told the Times. ‘And waiting and waiting.’

Meanwhile, the TV star’s camera crew had set up to film at an outdoor market in nearby Strasbourg.

Ripert reportedly had a hotel receptionist unlock the hotel room door. Inside, he found that Bourdain had hung himself in his bathroom.

Bourdain’s mother, Gladys, 83, told The Times on Saturday that she was shocked by the news of her son’s death.  

‘It’s really too difficult,’ she said.

‘He was an incredible guy. I really can’t talk about him… He was brilliant and sharp and funny. He is the last person in the world I’d imagine to do something like that.’

However, according to the Times, Ripert told Gladys that her son had been ‘in a dark mood these last couples of days’.  

For confidential support in the US call the National Suicide Prevention Line on 1-800-273-8255

 For confidential support in the UK call the Samaritans on 116123 or visit a local Samaritans branch, see www.samaritans.org for details.



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