Anthony Bourdain's partner speaks out about his death
Yesterday, the world was shocked to hear about the death of Anthony Bourdain. The 61-year-old chef was discovered unresponsive in a France hotel room on Friday morning after apparently taking his own life, and news of his passing sent ripples of sadness across the internet.
"Tony will be greatly missed not only for his work but also for the passion with which he did it," wrote Jeff Zucker, the network president of CNN, which has aired Bourdain's show - Parts Unknown - for the past five years. In an email to other employees at the network, Zucker also described the chef as an "exceptional talent", a sentiment that was echoed across social media.
Nobody, however, could quite empathise with the heartbreak felt by Asia Argento, Bourdain's girlfriend. The 42-year-old Italian actress and director shared a brief but emotional statement on Twitter in the hours following his death. It read:
"Anthony gave all of himself in everything that he did. His brilliant, fearless spirit touched and inspired so many, and his generosity knew no bounds. He was my love, my rock, my protector.
"I am beyond devastated. My thoughts are with this family. I would ask that you respect their privacy and mine."
The couple started dating two years ago, in 2016, after meeting through Bourdain's show. The chef credited his partner with enlightening him to feminist issues and matters of social injustice - something he was already well-regarded for in his work.
What's more, when Argento famously made a speech at the Cannes film festival in which she accused Harvey Weinstein of rape, Bourdain was there to support her in any way he could.
"In 1997, I was raped by Harvey Weinstein here at Cannes," the actress said. "I was 21 years old. This festival was his hunting ground. I want to make a prediction. Harvey Weinstein will never be welcomed here ever again. He will live in disgrace, shunned by a film community that embraced him and covered up for his crimes."
She continued: "And even tonight, sitting among you, there are those who still have to be held accountable for their conduct against women. For behaviour that does not belong in this industry, does not belong in any industry or any workplace."
After Argento had come forward with her story, Bourdain was very vocal about #MeToo and the issue of sexual harassment in the workplace.
"It was absolutely fearless to walk right into the lion’s den and say what she said, the way she said it," Bourdain said. "It was an incredibly powerful moment, I thought. I am honoured to know someone who has the strength and fearlessness to do something like that."
In the wake of Bourdain's passing, fans of the actress have left comforting messages on old pictures of the couple on social media.
"My condolences to you and to your family," wrote one commenter. "He is such a sweetheart and I love his adventures and exploring the world. He will be missed dearly."
"I’m sure you brought such joy to his life. Although we cannot begin to understand, an entire world is grieving with you," said another.
As well as leaving behind Argento and millions of fans, Bourdain is survived by his 11-year-old daughter, Ariana.