Jason Wang — the CEO and son of the founder of Xi’an Famous Foods — recalled how Bourdain changed the future of their family business when he stopped by their eatery in Flushing, New York, for the Travel Channel’s No Reservations back in 2007.
“Today’s a day of extreme sadness for us here at Xi’an Famous Foods,” Wang wrote on social media along with a photo with the beloved chef. “I’ve lost a dear friend today, and we mourn with the rest of the world.”
To honor Bourdain’s memory, Wang announced that his company would be donating all of their profits from Friday to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
“Please cherish all of our lives and help those who may be struggling,” he wrote. “Rest in peace, Tony, and the most sincere condolences to Tony’s beloved family.”
Wang said that he had profusely thanked Bourdain him for helping to launch the business, and the host said he was simply telling the truth.
“I remember years later in 2015 after interviewing together for an article, I approached Tony and told him, while he may have no idea what he has done for our family and business by simply saying he enjoyed the food, I wanted him to know it helped bring our family out from living in one room in Flushing to living the American dream,” the restaurateur recalled. “We were able to grow our business and provide great food for our guests, and opportunities for our employees. I looked at him in the eyes and said, this is something we will always be thankful for, Tony.”
Wang continued, “And he simply replied, ‘I’m just calling out good food like it is, that’s all.'”
Speaking with PEOPLE, French prosecutor Christian de Rocquigny previously said there was no evidence of violence in Bourdain’s death.
“Nothing suggested the involvement of a third person,” Rocquigny continued, adding that “an autopsy is the priority” as police in Colmar, France, continue investigating the TV host’s death.
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Speaking with the New York Times hours after the news of Bourdain’s death, his mother Gladys Bourdain said she had no indication that her son may have been thinking about suicide.
“He is absolutely the last person in the world I would have ever dreamed would do something like this,” she told the publication.
Gladys also said she spoke to Ripert, who told her that “Tony had been in a dark mood these past couple of days.”
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text “help” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.