Guy Fieri Honors Late Food Network Star Carl Ruiz in Birthday Tribute: 'Miss You Cuban'

Carl Ruiz, who appeared on numerous Food Network shows, died at age 44 on Sept. 21, 2019

Guy Fieri is remembering Food Network star Carl Ruiz on what would have been the late chef’s 45th birthday.

On Saturday, the Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives star, 52, shared a series of photos of himself with Ruiz, and wrote an emotional note honoring his friend.

“Happy birthday to one of my favorite people! You were a chef, friend, comedian, instigator, retaliator… lol, and the list goes on,” Fieri wrote. “Miss you Cuban, the world isn’t the same without you. #RIP my brutha.”

Ruiz, who appeared on series such as Guy’s Ranch Kitchen, died in his sleep on September 21 at age 44.

In October, a spokesperson from the Maryland Department of Health told TMZ the Food Network star died from atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease — a condition that results in the hardening of arteries, a buildup of cholesterol and fat that forms plaque within artery walls and restricts blood flow, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Fieri mourned Ruiz at the time of his death, sharing a tear-jerking tribute on social media.

I’m heartbroken that my friend chef Carl Ruiz is gone,” wrote Fieri. “I have no words to describe what a great friend he was to me and my family. His ability to make me laugh and smile under any circumstances was only outshined by his talent as a chef.”

Fieri added, “Over the years, I’ve met a lot of great people but a friend like Carl is one in a hundred million. Carl ’The Cuban’ Ruiz will forever live on in my heart and in those of all who loved him.”

A representative for La Cubana, the N.Y.C. Cuban restaurant opened by Ruiz last year, told PEOPLE they planned to establish The Carl Ruiz Scholarship Foundation to help aspiring chefs in his honor.

“On behalf of the La Cubana family, with heavy hearts, we are deeply saddened to share the passing of our beloved Executive Chef Carl Ruiz. No words can fully express our sadness at the sudden loss of our dear friend and brother,” read a post from the restaurant shortly after his passing.

A funeral was held for Ruiz in November 2019. It was attended by Fieri, who wore a shirt emblazoned with the word “ruizing,” a term the late chef coined to spread his carefree outlook on life and passion for good food.

“Today I say goodbye to one of the greatest friends and chefs I ever knew,” he wrote on social media alongside a photo showing the shirt. “He lived life to the fullest, and loved it all. We will miss you Carl.”

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