Anthony Bourdain participated in a death ritual for the season finale of 'Parts Unknown'
Anthony Bourdain died by suicide on June 8 in France. A close friend and colleague Eric Ripert, also the chef of Le Bernardin in New York, discovered Bourdain unresponsive in a hotel bathroom in Kaysersberg, a small village in the Alsace region of France.
On the night of his death, Bourdain had skipped dinner the evening before his body was discovered. There had been speculation about what caused him to take his life and what Bourdain had done or taken to do so, but a toxicology report confirmed nothing was in his system at the time of his death.
He died while still shooting for the Netflix TV series Parts Unknown, and news has come out that the late TV chef talked about his own mortality - and participated in an ancient death ritual - in the season finale.
The episode, which aired Sunday, followed the celebrity chef and his friend, director Darren Aronofsky, across Bhutan in South Asia as they ate with traditional yak herders in the Himalayas and dined in the country’s capital of Thimpu in December.
In one scene, a man explains the country’s religion, Bhutanese Buddhism, as something meant to remind people “time and again, not to take things too seriously. This is, in fact, an illusion”. Although the two had been friends since 2014, the trip to Bhutan proved to be a pivotal moment in their friendship.
The pair had previously travelled together to Madagascar for the series, but Aronofsky wrote that “Bhutan was where I really got to know Tony”. “It seems ironic now that on our last day of shooting we performed a Bhutanese death ritual,” Aronofsky wrote in a tribute to CNN. “We debated the fate of the country, the fate of the world. He was perplexed as to how mankind’s endless hunger to consume could be curtailed.”
Aronofsky adds: “Hard truths spinning in the smoke of incense in one of the most perfect spots nature has to offer. Isn’t that what we expect from Tony?” Bourdain himself touched on mortality throughout the episode. “It is considered enlightening and therapeutic to think about death for a few minutes a day,” he says in a voiceover. “Life is but a dream.”
Aronofsky, who directed Mother!, the Jennifer Lawrence film which Bourdain called “his masterpiece”, also paid his respects to Bourdain’s humble personality in the tribute. “He never adjusted his hair or gave a damn about makeup or a lighting setup,” Aronofsky wrote. “He was always dressed perfectly for whatever we were doing - never flashy, never understated. He just showed up, and he worked. I have rarely witnessed talent on his scale be so willingly present and real.”
“Tony was just himself: humble, confident, authentic, mischievous, kind. He greeted every fan’s request for a selfie with patience and a smile.”
Immediately following Bourdain’s death, Aronofsky released a statement sharing that he was “devastated” over losing his “loyal friend,” whom he called “an inspiration.”
He will be truly missed by all.