While talking with the 61-year-old American chef and TV host’s friend — and celebrated food writer — Michael Ruhlman, the CNN At This Hour with Kate Bolduan host teared up as she remembered Bourdain.
“Michael, I was struck this morning that,” she began, before pausing to sniffle and regain her composure. “Every time I was fortunate enough to have him on set… I’d always shout at him as he was walking out, ‘In the next life, I’m coming back as Anthony Bourdain.’ ”
“I wonder, is that why it’s so hard to process this today?” she asked.
The host of CNN’s Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown was found unresponsive in his hotel room in France on Friday morning by close friend and French chef Eric Ripert, according to CNN. Both were filming an upcoming episode of Bourdain’s award-winning show. He died of an apparent suicide.
A police spokesperson in Strasbourg, France, confirmed Bourdain’s death to PEOPLE.
“It is hard to process this today for so many of us and I can hear the emotion in your voice,” Ruhlman replied to the CNN host. “I was the same way when I first learned of the news and continue to be that way.”
“He touched so many people. He was a genuine soul. It’s hard,” he added. “We feel grief, but I also hope we feel the grace that was in the world because of him.” But despite his grief, Bourdain’s friend also pointed out that the chef would have “hated” hearing “these platitudes that I’m saying.”
“He would have told me to shut the f— up. But the fact is we were really lucky to have him here and underneath, he’d be really proud,” Ruhlman continued.
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With audible emotion in her voice yet again, Bolduan replied, “Well Michael, thank you so much for sharing with me.”
Following Bourdain’s death, his girlfriend Asia Argento released a statement, writing on Twitter, “Anthony gave all of himself in everything that he did.”
“His brilliant, fearless spirit touched and inspired so many, and his generosity knew no bounds. He was my love, my rock, my protector. I am beyond devastated. My thoughts are with his family. I would ask that you respect their privacy and mine,” the Italian actress, 42, continued.
Argento and Bourdain met when the two collaborated on the Rome episode of Parts Unknown in 2016 and began dating a year later.
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).