TV personality and celebrity chef Gary Rhodes, best known for hosting cooking competitions MasterChef and Hell's Kitchen, has died at the age of 59, his family said. Rhodes was in Dubai with his wife, Jennie, who was with him when he died. A cause of death was not announced.
"The Rhodes family are deeply saddened to announce the passing of beloved husband, father and brother, Gary Rhodes OBE. Gary passed away last evening at the age of 59, with his beloved wife Jennie by his side," a statement released by his family and published by The Guardian read.
Grosvenor House Dubai and Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort and Spa, where Rhodes worked, said in a statement that the team was "devastated to hear of the tragic passing of chef Gary Rhodes OBE. Not only has the industry lost a true culinary legend, we have also lost an inspirational human being and a very dear friend.
"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," the statement concluded.
Rhodes, who was born in London, grew up in Kent, England, before his career as a cook, which he trained for at a college in Thanet. He became head chef at the Castle hotel in Taunton at the age of 26, obtaining its Michelin star.
In the 1990s, he returned to London and launched several restaurants, including Rhodes & Co. By 1999 he had opened three Rhodes & Co brasseries in Manchester, Edinburgh and West Sussex. His first overseas venture — in the Calabash Hotel in Grenada — opened in 2004, and he was awarded an OBE (Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) in 2006.
He hosted TV shows including MasterChef, MasterChef USA, as well as his own series called Rhodes Around Britain. He hosted the first two seasons of the original MasterChef USA on PBS in 2000 and 2001. He also made appearances on the ITV1 show Saturday Cooks as well as the UKTV Food show Local Food Hero.
Rhodes published more than 20 cookbooks, including New British Classics and The Complete Cookery Year. He also had his own line of cooking items and bread mixes.
Rhodes moved to Dubai, where two of his four restaurants are located, in 2011.
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. Sending all the love and prayers to your wife and kids. You'll be missed."