Anthony Bourdain, celebrity chef and TV host, did not take drugs before he died


Anthony Bourdain

Anthony Bourdain in New York City, June 2, 2016. (Mike Coppola/Getty Images)

(JTA) — Anthony Bourdain, a celebrity chef and writer who hosted popular food and travel shows on CNN, did not have narcotics in his body when he died.

Bourdain’s death earlier this month at age 61 was ruled a suicide by hanging by French police, after his body was found in a hotel bathroom in Kaysersberg, a small French village, where he was working on an upcoming episode of his CNN series “Parts Unknown.”

The New York Times reported over the weekend that no drugs were found in his body except a regular dose of a nonnarcotic medicine.

Bourdain had been upfront about his use of cocaine, heroin and other drugs, and had filmed a 2014 episode of “Parts Unknown” that explored the nation’s opioid epidemic, where he talked about his own drug use.


Bourdain received critical acclaim for introducing viewers to often-foreign lands – providing a rough roadmap for adventure – without mocking but instead humanizing and engaging with, local culture, implicitly encouraging viewers to do the same.

In 2013, Bourdain traveled to Israel for an episode of “Parts Unknown,” where he explored the culinary traditions of Jews and Arabs and reflected on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In the show he said his father was Catholic and his mother was Jewish, but that he was raised without religion.

“I’ve never been in a synagogue. I don’t believe in a higher power,” he told viewers. “But that doesn’t make me any less Jewish, I don’t think.”

His mother, Gladys, told the New York Times that she would get his name, Tony, tattooed on the inside of her wrist as a personal memorial to her son, drawn by his tattoo artist.

Bourdain’s death came as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a  report saying suicide rates rose in all but one state between 1999 and 2016, with increases seen across age, gender, race and ethnicity.

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