Food Network star Carl Ruiz died suddenly last year at age 44

By Eric Todisco
September 21, 2020 12:04 PM
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Carl Ruiz, Guy Fieri
| Credit: Carl Ruiz/Twitter

Guy Fieri is paying tribute to Carl Ruiz one year after his unexpected death.

On Sunday, Fieri, 52, spoke about the late Food Network star — who died last September at age 44 — in a heartfelt video he shared on Instagram.

"One year ago today, lost one of my favorite people in the world," he said. "One of the greatest chefs, one of my best friends, and one of the funniest people I've ever met in my life."

Fieri then encouraged his followers to honor the late chef and participate in the "DAY OF #RUIZING" on Monday by eating at restaurants or ordering take-out and delivery, as well as "tip super generously" like Ruiz did.

"He loved to go out and eat food, and go to restaurants and he used to love to tip big," Fieri said in the video. "He was a big fan of the industry, always taking care of his brothers and sisters in the business."

"Miss him so much, but the way we can keep the memory alive is by celebrating him today and tomorrow," Fieri said, adding, "Keep 'Ruizing.'"

In his caption, Fieri told his followers to "mark your receipt or your $$ with #dontstopruizing and post of picture of it to Facebook tagging @chefcarlruiz."

"Show us how you were a generous tipper and tell us where you went," he wrote. "We will be doing exactly what Carl would be doing to help folks in the restaurant industry during these challenging times!!"

Guy Fieri, Carl Ruiz
| Credit: Facebook

Food Network star Alex Guarnaschelli also paid tribute to Ruiz on Instagram and, like Fieri, encouraged her followers to "keep ruizing."

"1 year since this wonderful, dastardly Cuban @saborchef left us," she wrote. "Beyond humble. Shy and bold in equal measure. Kind. He was literally like a one-man party wherever he went. He also made a great dessert empanada.....Keep #ruizing as we know he is. 💔 💔😢 #restinpeace."

Ruiz, who appeared on multiple episodes of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives and was also a judge on Guy’s Grocery Games, opened his new restaurant La Cubana in New York City just three months before his death.

“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 the restaurant's Instagram after his death.

A spokesperson from the Maryland Department of Health said the Food Network star died from atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. The condition 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.

Carl Ruiz
| Credit: La Cubana NYC/Instagram

Fieri was among many famous chefs to react to the tragic news of Ruiz's death at the time, writing on social media that he was "heartbroken."

“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," he said. "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.”