Chef and TV Personality Anthony Bourdain Dead at 61

Storyteller’s Death Highlights Disproportionate Suicide Risk for Middle-aged Men

WASHINGTON, D.C., USA, June 8, 2018 / -- Anthony Bourdain, chef and author, died today at the age of 61 from a reported suicide. We urge the press to take note while reporting this story that research shows a disproportionate number of middle-aged men die from suicide as shown in a recent CDC report. We mourn the death of Bourdain, as we also mourn the death of the other 95 men who will die by suicide today in the US. There is no single cause for a death by suicide, but rather a confluence of factors that lead someone to exceed their capacity for emotional pain.

While the suicide rate is rising consistently across demographic groups, there was a 43% increase in suicide deaths of men aged 45-64 between 1997 and 2014 (CDC, 2016). According to the CDC, 11,943 men from this age group died from suicide in 2016.

Many of Bourdain’s fans fall within this demographic. It is important to recognize warning signs of suicide in those around us. In the case of men in middle age, some of these warning signs might manifest as financial, professional, and relationship difficulties, as well as social isolation and increased substance use.

“Suicide affects us all,” says Julie Cerel, President of the American Association of Suicidology, “Each person who dies by suicide leaves behind so many loved ones with the question of, ‘Why?’ We need significant funding for research to help answer this question.”

Recent celebrity deaths by suicide, as well as the landmark study by the CDC, have put a spotlight on the fact that we know very little about the causes for suicide. We have worked diligently for decades to understand how to prevent it, but need extensive research to understand what leads a person to thoughts of suicide. Federal and state funding, significant community efforts, and wide-scale acceptance of means safety (namely safe storage of prescription medications and firearms), can lead to lowering the rates of suicide nationally.

Resources available for support:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline - 800-273-8255
Crisis Text Line - Text START to 741 741
Man Therapy -

For the Media: Responsible reporting on suicide, including stories of hope and resilience, can prevent more suicides. Please visit the Reporting on Suicide guidelines for more information.


About AAS: Founded in 1968 by Edwin S. Shneidman, PhD, AAS promotes suicide as a research discipline, public awareness programs, public education and training for professionals and volunteers. The membership of AAS includes mental health and public health professionals, researchers, suicide prevention and crisis intervention centers, school districts, crisis center volunteers, survivors of suicide loss, attempt survivors, and a variety of lay persons who have in interest in suicide prevention. You can learn more about AAS at

Colleen Creighton
American Association of Suicidology
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