British celebrity chef Gary Rhodes has died aged 59, his family says.
In a statement reported by the PA Media news agency, the family said: “The Rhodes family are deeply saddened to announce the passing of beloved husband, father and brother, Gary Rhodes OBE.”
The family said Rhodes died on Tuesday evening with his wife Jennie at his side.
Rhodes was filming a new series in Dubai for Rock Oyster Media and Goldfinch TV, the production companies said in a joint statement Wednesday.
“Gary was taken ill very suddenly at home during a break in filming and died a short time afterwards,” the joint statement reads.
“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.”
Two Dubai hotels where Rhodes had restaurants, Grosvenor House Dubai and Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort and Spa, released a statement saying they were “devastated” by the news, PA reported.
“Not only has the industry lost a true culinary legend, we have also lost an inspirational human being and a very dear friend,” the hotels said.
“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 gained his first Michelin star aged 26 while working at The Castle Hotel in Taunton, southwest England. Over the course of his career, he was head chef at five other Michelin-starred restaurants.
In 2004, he set up his first overseas restaurant on the Caribbean island of Grenada, before opening several restaurants in the United Arab Emirates.
Well-known for his appearances on television shows “MasterChef” and “Hell’s Kitchen,” he cooked for many celebrities, including Princess Diana, Tom Hanks and his favorite football team, Manchester United.
In 2016, Rhodes was made an Officer of the British Empire (OBE) for his services to the industry.
Top figures in the culinary world took to Twitter to pay tribute to Rhodes.
Restaurateur and TV chef Gordon Ramsay tweeted: “We lost a fantastic chef today in Gary Rhodes. He was a chef who put British Cuisine on the map.”
And Ainsley Harriott, another TV chef, tweeted that Rhodes was “a culinary icon and a lovely man.”