Anthony Bourdain’s appeared to be in a “dark mood” in the days leading up to his death, according to the chef Eric Ripert, a close friend who eventually found Bourdain dead in his hotel room in the Alsace region of France.
The New York Times reports that the “Parts Unknown” host did not appear for dinner at the restaurant in the luxury hotel Le Chambard on Thursday night, after dining there regularly with Ripert since he had arrived to the hotel to film an upcoming episode for the CNN series.
A waiter at the restaurant there told the New York Times that Bourdain’s absence on Thursday night was notable.
“Mr. Ripert thought it was strange,” waiter Maxime Voinson said in an interview. “We thought it was strange.”
Still, the staff figured maybe Bourdain has just gone to a different restaurant for the night. But concerns about his well-being escalated the next morning, when he didn’t show up for his usual breakfast with Ripert.
“His friend was waiting at breakfast, and waiting and waiting,” Voinson said.
Hotel staff told the New York Times that Ripert contacted hotel reception when he couldn’t reach Bourdain on his cell phone. A receptionist and Ripert then went to Bourdain’s room, where they found him unresponsive.
Christian de Rocquigny ,the prosecutor leading the investigation, told the New York Times that while toxicology tests are being conducted, he is convinced that Bourdain’s death was a result of suicide — and suspects the beloved chef and author did not plan it very far in advance.
“There is no indication of any involvement by a third person, and we’re ready to give the body to his family,” de Rocquigny said, adding that the toxicology screenings were “solely to give the family more information about the motivations and the cause of death.”
The circumstances of Bourdain’s death has led authorities “to suspect that not much preparation and premeditation went into the act, and leads us more in the direction of an impulsive act,” the prosecutor said.
Bourdain’s mother told the New York Post that Ripert told her Bourdain had been in a “dark mood” in the couple of days leading up to his shocking death. An unnamed source told People magazine that Bourdain’s work and travel schedule had been exhausting.
“His travel schedule was grueling, and he often seemed quite beat-up from it, as anyone would be,” the source said.
“He’d put everything into the shoots and then go back to his room to isolate.”
If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
[Feature image: Anthony Bourdain/Dennis Van Tine for STAR MAX via Associated Press]