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Bourdain Had No Narcotics in His System When He Died, French Official Says

Anthony Bourdain did not have narcotics in his body when he died this month, a French judicial official said.

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Kim Severson
, New York Times

Anthony Bourdain did not have narcotics in his body when he died this month, a French judicial official said.

Bourdain, a New York chef, author and television correspondent whose death shook fans across the world, was found dead June 8 in a hotel bathroom in Kaysersberg, a small village in the Alsace region of France.

Police at the time ruled his death a suicide by hanging. From an investigative standpoint, the only question left was whether he had any substances in his body.

There were none, save for the trace of a nonnarcotic medicine in a therapeutic dose, Christian de Rocquigny, the local prosecutor in charge of the investigation, said in a text message to The New York Times.

Bourdain, 61, had been in the village filming his CNN show “Parts Unknown” with Eric Ripert, chef of Le Bernardin in New York.

Bourdain had skipped dinner the evening before his body was discovered. When he did not arrive for breakfast with Ripert the next morning, a receptionist went into his room and found his body.

Bourdain was cremated in France and his remains and travel belongings were sent to his younger brother and only sibling, Christopher. The family will likely have a small, private ceremony of some kind, said Gladys Bourdain, his mother.

“He would want as little fuss as possible,” she said.

Gladys Bourdain, a former editor at The New York Times, said she planned to get “Tony” tattooed in small letters on the inside of her wrist next week as a personal memorial to her son.

She said she was never a fan of Bourdain’s tattoos, which chronicled his culinary journeys. But she plans to use his tattoo artist. It will be her only tattoo.

Anthony Bourdain, who grew up in New Jersey and cooked at several restaurants in New York, rose to fame after he published his memoir “Kitchen Confidential” in 2000. The raucous look at what really goes on inside professional kitchens helped personify the bad boy chef as a cultural icon.

He was frank about his once prolific use of cocaine, heroin and other drugs, and in a 2014 episode of “Parts Unknown” that explored the nation’s opioid epidemic, he said he bought his first bag of heroin on the Lower East Side in 1980, when he was 24.

Kimberly Witherspoon, Bourdain’s longtime agent who said she was authorized to speak for Ottavia Bourdain, his wife, said there is no plan for a public memorial “at this time.”

The couple, who had a daughter together, had been amicably separated since 2016. For nearly two years, Bourdain had been romantically involved with Italian actor and director Asia Argento, one of the first women to come forward with claims of a long-standing pattern of sexual abuse and harassment by Harvey Weinstein, the Hollywood producer who is facing charges in New York City that he raped one woman and forced another to perform oral sex.

Bourdain emerged as a vocal supporter of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements in his final months, often with Argento as his side.

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