Gary Rhodes, the celebrity British chef, has died after suddenly falling ill in Dubai, aged 59.
Rhodes was best known for fronting programmes including MasterChef, Hell’s Kitchen and MasterChef USA.
According to a family statement sent to The Independent, Rhodes passed away on Tuesday evening.
“The Rhodes family are deeply saddened to announce the passing of beloved husband, father and brother, Gary Rhodes OBE,” it reads. “The family would like to thank everyone for their support and ask for privacy during this time.”
Rhodes had been taking a break from filming a new TV series when he suddenly became very unwell, the production company behind the show has said.
The company, Goldfinch, shared the news in a joint statement with its subsidiary, Rock Oyster Media. "Gary was in the middle of filming a wonderful new series with Rock Oyster Media for ITV from his base in Dubai," the statement reads.
"All at Rock Oyster Media and Goldfinch are devastated by this tragic news. Gary was taken ill very suddenly at home during a break in filming and died a short time afterwards. Production was obviously halted as soon as Gary was taken ill and members of the Rock Oyster Team remain in Dubai to support the family as best they can."
In addition to owning four restaurants, two of which are in Dubai, the acclaimed chef had his own line of cooking items and bread mixes.
Rhodes had a restaurant called Rhodes W1 at Grosvenor House Dubai and another named Rhodes Twenty10 at Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort.
On news of his death, both hotels released the following joint statement: “The team at Grosvenor House Dubai and Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort and Spa are devastated to hear of the tragic passing of Chef Gary Rhodes OBE. Not only has the industry lost a true culinary legend, we have also lost an inspirational human being and a very dear friend.
“No words can express our sadness at Gary’s death or our gratitude for the opportunity to work with him. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Rhodes family.”
Rhodes, born in South London, opened his first restaurant in 1997 named City Rhodes and a year later opened his second, Rhodes in the Square – both were awarded Michelin Stars.
By 1999 he had opened three Rhodes & Co brasseries in Manchester, Edinburgh and West Sussex.
Rhodes opened his first restaurant overseas in 2004 in the Calabash Hotel in Grenada. He then went on to see major success with restaurants in London, including Rhodes Twenty Four at Tower 42, which won its first Michelin Star in 2005. He also ran restaurants aboard P&O superliners.
He made his first TV appearance at the age of 27 on a programme called Hot Chefs and went on to front his own food programmes, including Rhodes Around Britain, before hosting the original Masterchef USA for two seasons in 2000 and 2001.
The chef moved to Dubai in 2011, having opened Rhodes Twenty10 the previous year, and went on to open his first restaurant in Abu Dhabi in 2013.
Rhodes published more than 20 cookery books, including New British Classics and The Complete Cookery Year.
In addition to his restaurants, books and TV programmes, Rhodes was an established personal chef, having cooked for everyone from Tom Hanks to Princess Diana.
In 2006, Rhodes was rewarded with an OBE for his services to the hospitality industry.
Following the news of his death, many celebrities and fellow chefs have expressed their condolences on social media.
Jamie Oliver praised Rhodes as a "fantastic chef" on Instagram while Great British Bake Off winner Candace Brown tweeted: "So so sad to hear about Gary Rhodes. His banana and syrup loaf was the first thing I baked all on my own. The pages are stuck together with syrup."
The cause of death has not yet been confirmed.
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