- His body was found at his home in Crissier, Switzerland
- "An immense chef, an immense sadness," fellow culinary star tweeted
(CNN)Chef Benoit Violier, whose Swiss restaurant was crowned the best in the world last month, has been found dead in an apparent suicide, police said.
His body was discovered late Sunday afternoon in his home in Crissier in western Switzerland, a statement on the Vaud canton police website said Monday.
Violier, who was 44 years old, ran the three Michelin-starred Restaurant De L'Hotel De Ville Crissier-Suisse.
In December, France's prestigious La Liste ranking crowned the establishment the world's best restaurant and Violier showed up to receive the award from the French foreign ministry grinning from ear to ear.
The initial investigation points to suicide by gunshot, police said.
The authorities said no further comments would be issued at this time out of respect for the family.
Grief and shock
Many of his star culinary peers took to social media to express their grief and shock.
Michelin-starred chef Jean Francois Piege tweeted: "An immense chef, an immense sadness, thoughts go out to his family and his team," while chef Pierre Gagnaire of the restaurant Amber in the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong said: "My thoughts go out to Benoit Violier's family. Very sad news about an extremely talented chef."
Violier took over the restaurant's kitchen in April 2012 from his mentor and French fine dining giant Philippe Rochat. Rochat died last July after a bicycle accident.
He was originally from France but later took on Swiss citizenship. He was known for his hunting skills, and game was something that was often reflected on his expensive $370 menus, enjoyed by many heads of state and celebrities.
Inquiries to the Restaurant De L'Hotel De Ville Crissier-Suisse were not immediately returned. It is unclear who will succeed Violier as chef.