Anderson Cooper Pays Tribute to Anthony Bourdain in CNN Special: "He Loved and Was Loved in Return"

In the hour-long memoriam, clips from Bourdain's shows were played, and friends shared their memories of the television personality.

CNN's Anderson Cooper paid tribute to the life and legacy of Anthony Bourdain with an hour-long special on Anderson Cooper 360 Friday night, following news of the Parts Unknown host's death earlier in the day.

Cooper started things off by saying of Bourdain, "He loved and was loved in return." He expressed "shock, confusion and sadness that a man who was seemingly having the ride of his life in the middle of his life has now suddenly reached the end of his life."

"It's hard to imagine he's gone, hard to imagine he's not off on some faraway journey, hard to imagine he'll not soon return with new stories to tell and new foods to share," Cooper narrated over clips of Bourdain. The CNN host reminisced on his time spent with the chef: "He saw the world and experienced life in ways most people never will. In places near and far, he talked and tasted with open mouth and eyes and open heart and mind." Cooper remembered how Bourdain would encourage him to "expand my limited culinary curiosity."

In the tribute, titled Remembering Anthony Bourdain, clips from Bourdain's shows were played, and friends shared their memories of the television personality. Friend and fellow author and chef Michael Ruhlman said: "He was straightforward, and he called things the way he saw it. I can't believe he's not here anymore. We need people like him." He added that Bourdain "was much more sensitive than people realized," but that he "loved what he was doing."

CNN anchor Christiane Amanpour praised Bourdain's use of profanity on his shows and for "showing us the normal side of the world." 

Bourdain's editor and friend Daniel Halpern praised his unique voice as an author. "He claimed that he didn't understand poetry, but he was a poet in so many ways, in the way he perceived the world," Halpern said.

The Emmy-winning host, chef and best-selling author was found dead in a hotel room in France of apparent suicide at the age of 61. CNN, the home of Bourdain's show since it premiered in April 2013, confirmed the news, saying in a statement, "It is with extraordinary sadness we can confirm the death of our friend and colleague, Anthony Bourdain. His love of great adventure, new friends, fine food and drink and the remarkable stories of the world made him a unique storyteller. His talents never ceased to amaze us, and we will miss him very much. Our thoughts and prayers are with his daughter and family at this incredibly difficult time." 

Talinda Bennington, the widow of Linkin Park rocker Chester Bennington, who also died by suicide, joined Cooper to discuss the stigma around suicide. "If we can talk about [suicidal thoughts], that's one of the first stepping stones to changing the culture about how we speak about mental health," she said. "I'm sick of it being something embarrassing, something people don't want to talk about."

During the tribute, Cooper also brought on chief medical officer of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Dr. Christine Moutier, who shared tips on how to spot someone who might need help and how to help them. 

In addition to the special, the network will air "a night of Anthony's favorite episodes" of his Parts Unknown show on Saturday night. On Sunday night, CNN will air as scheduled the sixth episode of Bourdain's show, which is in its 11th season. The episode, which is set in Berlin, will have a "special introduction" by Cooper. Following the broadcast, the network will re-air Friday night's tribute.

CNN also encouraged viewers to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800-273-8255) if they or someone they know needs help.