Anthony Bourdain’s fans leave tributes at the restaurant where it all began

(CNN) — Anthony Bourdain’s fans turned the restaurant where he shot to fame as a chef into a memorial, leaving roses and notes at New York’s Brasserie Les Halles.

Bourdain died Friday at 61.

He was in France working on an episode of his CNN series, “Parts Unknown,” when a friend found him unresponsive in his hotel room. The cause of death was suicide.

As the nation mourned the celebrated chef turned TV host, fans taped tributes on the door and walls of the shuttered French brasserie, where Bourdain worked as a chef in the 1990s. They placed printouts of his pictures outside, along with messages and the hotline for a suicide prevention network.

“Thank you for what you gave to this world, a deeper understanding of culture and food,” one note said. “You have changed our lives forever. Love you forever.”

Others said he changed the way some of the most marginalized countries are viewed.

“Thank you for bringing a respectful view to the people of Palestine, Libya, Iran and more. You brought people together,” another note said.

Bourdain’s award-winning series, “Parts Unknown,” brought the world home to CNN viewers. It showcased the extraordinary diversity of cultures and cuisines, and how much we all have in common — all through the simple act of sharing meals.

Before he got into television, he worked as a chef at the New York restaurant. While there, he wrote an essay on the behind-the-scenes of the restaurant world, which led to the memoir “Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly,” turning him into a celebrity chef.

The gifted chef and storyteller used his books and later television shows to explore culture and cuisine. He spent years as a line cook and sous chef at restaurants in the Northeast before becoming executive chef at Manhattan’s Brasserie Les Halles.

Suicide is a growing problem in the United States, where rates have increased by 25% nationwide over nearly two decades ending in 2016. Twenty-five states experienced a rise in suicides by more than 30%, according to a government report published this week.

How to get help: In the US, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. The International Association for Suicide Prevention and Befrienders Worldwide also can provide contact information for crisis centers around the world.

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