Police said Cantu was discovered hanging inside a building where he'd hoped to open a brewery

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Credit: JEFF HAYNES/AFP/Getty

Famed Chef Homaro Cantu was found dead on Tuesday afternoon of an apparent suicide. He was 38.

Police said Cantu was discovered hanging inside a building where he’d hoped to open a brewery on the northwest side of Chicago, according to WGN-TV. His autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday.

The 38-year-old chef had appeared on a number of reality cooking series, including Iron Chef, Hell’s Kitchen and Dinner Impossible. His restaurant Moto, a fine-dining establishment that mixes science with high-end food, was at the center of the TV show Future Food on Planet Green/Discovery Channel network

“I’m saddened, I’m broken up,” said Trevor Rose-Hamblin, Moto’s former general manager, the Chicago Tribune reports. “This guy was my best friend. He was going to be my business partner.”

Known as “Omar” to his friends, Cantu was a champion of the miracle berry, a fruit that makes sour foods taste sweet. It was the focus for two of his establishments: the now closed restaurant iNG and the newly opened coffee bar Berrista.

“I was devastated,” said friend Michael Taus, who knew the chef for more than a decade, NBC Chicago reports. “I don’t think there’s anybody like Omar. I mean, he was shooting for the moon.

“He didn’t know the word, ‘No,’ and he was just always experimenting. He was a mad scientist.”