Reality star suicide is 2nd for Gordon Ramsay
'Hell's Kitchen' contestant killed herself in 2007
Joseph Cerniglia, whose body was found in New York's Hudson River late last week, is the second Gordon Ramsay reality show participant to commit suicide.
Rachel Brown, who competed on Ramsay's "Hell's Kitchen," shot herself to death in her family's Dallas home in 2007 -- one year after coming in fifth on the competition show that pits chefs against each other.
Officials received a 911 call about Cerniglia's body Friday afternoon -- shortly after getting 911 calls about a man who jumped off the George Washington Bridge. His death was ruled a suicide.
Cerniglia was facing deep debt while struggling to keep his New Jersey restaurant, Campania, open when he appeared on "Kitchen Nightmares" in 2007.
"I'm financially in trouble -- the debt of the restaurant alone is overwhelming. My personal debt -- wife, kids mortgage -- that's a lot of debt," he told Ramsay on the show. "I owe my purveyors about $80,000 right now in cold, hard cash... I can't see us going on another year."
Warned the British host ominously, "Your business is about to f---king swim down the Hudson."
After Ramsay renovated the restaurant and helped give the staffers pointers on how to run their business better, it grew more successful.
"The place is really doing well -- the parking lot is packed on weekends," a woman who works at a neighboring tanning salon told the New York Post. Another employee at the salon added: "[Cerniglia] said Ramsay was intense but that he turned out to be a nice guy, that in the end, he helped him out."
Cerniglia's family posted a message on his Facebook page "to thank all of the friends who have sent their condolences," and also asked for donations to support his widow and their three sons, Evan, Michael and Nicholas.
Ramsay's spokeswoman said the chef was on a plane and not available to comment to the Post.
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