ANTHONY Bourdain killed himself after becoming the kind of monster he swore fame would never turn him into, his biographer told The Sun.
In his final days, the beloved celebrity chef realized he was a bully, a neglectful father and obsessed with his younger girlfriend, says writer Charles Leerhsen.
It led to the 61-year-old’s death in a moment of desperation while he was staying in a French hotel, claims Leerhsen’s new, unauthorized biography Down and Out in Paradise – The Life of Anthony Bourdain.
Speaking from New York, Leerhsen outlined his views on how his own father’s life unraveled in June 2018 after his Italian film actress lover Asia Argento was pictured in Rome with another man.
Former Sports Illustrated editor-in-chief Leerhsen, 73, said: “When he first found fame he was 42 years old.
“He was a mature man and he understood more than a younger person what happened to him when he found fame in his twenties.
“He vowed never to become the kind of monster that fame can turn you into.
“I think in his last months, if not his last hours, he realized that he had actually become this horrible bully to the people he was working with, he had become a neglectful father, and everything was spinning just about his obsession with it woman.
“I think he had a moment of enlightenment that was also like a moment of despair because he vowed never to be.”
Parts unknown Presenter Bourdain was in France when he decided to end his life.
He was found dead of an apparent suicide by his friend Éric Ripert, when he was hanged in his room at the Hotel Le Chambard in Kayserberg in north-eastern Alsace.
Leerhsen believes that drinking and constant travel had worn Bourdain down to the point where he couldn’t find a way out.
The author said: “At this point he seemed too exhausted from traveling and drinking to put things right and untangle the knot he had made of his life.
“He was just too exhausted and I think that’s what led him to that brief moment where he decided to do what he did.
“As with many suicides, if he somehow got through that moment, he might never have done it.
“He’s always been a very impulsive person, full of romantic big ideas, and I think it fit that pattern in his life that he realized he would become the person he swore he would never be.”
In his early days as a chef, Bourdain was addicted to heroin, which he openly wrote about in 2000 in his seminal book Kitchen Confidential.
But Leerhsen says it’s well documented that his poison of choice for years before he reached the end of the road was alcohol.
He explained: “The coroner’s report said he went out alone to a boozy dinner last night and had been drinking quite a bit that night.
“I think alcohol was a factor in helping him reach that state.
“Bourdain spoke about the gap between the romance of travel, which always seems so appealing, and the actual travel itself, which is very tiring.
“It wasn’t any different for him just because he was Anthony Bourdain.
“He traveled 250 days a year, consuming large amounts of a substance that will tire you.
“He compounded this fatigue problem and it left him in a state of utter physical and mental exhaustion.
“He never tried to get to that state of relief from exhaustion where he could then start repairing his life and move on with it.
“He certainly had a lot in his life to build on.”
It comes after Leerhsen told The US Sun how Bourdain frantically Googled Argento 300 times before his death.
Leerhsen has previously written about legendary American figures such as baseball center fielder Ty Cobb and outlaw Butch Cassidy.
Explaining why he chose Bourdain as his new subject, Leerhsen said: “Shortly after his death, I was walking down the street in Brooklyn, where I live, and I saw a poster at a bus stop.
“It was about how the guy with the best job in the world and the best life in the world ended up taking his own life.”
Charles Leerhsen, Anthony Bourdain biographer
“I was like, ‘Wow, what a cool guy.’ He looked like the coolest guy in the world like he didn’t care but he went through with it all.
“But then he took his own life. Now it seems obvious, but I was like, ‘How did this happen?’
“It was about how the guy with the best job in the world and the best life in the world ended up taking his own life.
“Not that I want to solve the mystery of exactly why someone kills themselves, but I might be able to better understand how they got to this point of utter despair.”
Edited by Simon & Schuster, Down and Out in Paradise – The Life of Anthony Bourdain is available now.
You’re not alone
SUICIDE is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, according to the 2018 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Leading Causes of Death Report.
According to the report, there were “more than two and a half times as many suicides” as homicides in the United States.
For people aged 10 to 34, suicide was the “second leading cause of death” and the fourth leading cause of death for those aged 35 to 54.
Suicide is a vital health problem in the United States. It affects all genders, races and ages.
That’s why The-Sun.com launched the You’re Not Alone campaign.
The campaign calls on readers to discuss their mental health issues with their family, friends and healthcare professionals. We can all help to help others who may be suffering and help save lives.
If you’re having trouble coping, you’re not alone. There are many free and confidential programs in the US that aim to help people who are struggling with their mental health.
If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health issues, these organizations are here to offer support:
https://www.the-sun.com/news/6432503/anthony-bourdain-killed-himself-bully-bad-dad-obsessed-girlfriend/ Anthony Bourdain killed himself after realizing he had become a bully, a bad father and obsessed with his girlfriend, the author says