Anthony Bourdain's Toxicology Report Has Some Heartbreaking Details

This article discusses suicide and drug addiction

Anthony Bourdain's death sent shockwaves across the world in June 2018. The chef, TV host, and author was found dead in his hotel room in Alsace. Investigators concluded Bourdain died by suicide, and a toxicology report found no substances in his blood. He was 61. The "Parts Unknown" host had been in northeastern France filming the award-winning CNN show with fellow celebrity chef Éric Ripert. His death shocked not only his fans but also his loved ones.

"He is absolutely the last person in the world I would have ever dreamed would do something like this," Bourdain's mother, Gladys, told The New York Times. But the controversial book, "Down and Out in Paradise: The Life of Anthony Bourdain," shared tragic texts Bourdain sent his estranged wife before he died that suggest he was in a poor mental state. "I hate my fans, too. I hate being famous. I hate my job. I am lonely and living in constant uncertainty," he wrote Ottavia Busia-Bourdain (via The New York Times).

The book also included texts between Bourdain and Asia Argento, with whom he had been in a relationship since the previous year. "You were careless. You were reckless with my heart. My life," he wrote to her (via People). All of this gave insight into his last few days, but many still found it hard to believe he could end his life. Given Bourdain's past issues with drug addiction, many wondered if narcotics played a role in his death, but they didn't.

Anthony Bourdain was sober when he died

Anthony Bourdain had little to no substances in his system at the time of his death, his toxicology report showed. "No trace of narcotics. No trace of any toxic products," French prosecutor Christian de Rocquingny told Reuters (via CBC). The celebrity chef's blood tested positive only for traces of alcohol and nonnarcotic medication "in therapeutic dose," meaning he took just enough for it to have the appropriate effect.

Bourdain had been open about his past struggles with addiction. "We were high all the time ... Hardly a decision was made without drugs,'" he wrote in his 2000 bestselling book, "Kitchen Confidential." Even though he used any kind of drug available, Bourdain was particularly hooked on heroin. He knew he was lucky to come out the other side of his addiction alive after managing to quit without going to rehab. "I should've died in my 20s," he told in 2016 (via CNBC).

In "Kitchen Confidential," he recalled riding in a cab with three friends after reading an article that stated only one in four addicts recover. "And right there, I knew that if one of us was getting off dope, and staying off dope, it was going to be me," he wrote. But he continued to drink, oftentimes heavily — even on TV. "How many heroin addicts just stop using without going to rehab, and continue drinking? It's like you're papering over the real problems," filmmaker Morgan Neville, who produced "Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain," told Vanity Fair.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by dialing 988 or by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​. If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Anthony Bourdain's loved ones noticed a change in him

Close friends had noticed a change in Anthony Bourdain in the months before his death. But they had a hard time seeing that anything could actually be wrong. "I could see how f***ing weird and plastic his life was becoming," fellow celebrity chef David Chang told Laurie Woolever for her book, "Bourdain: The Definitive Oral Biography" (via Vanity Fair). Many attributed the changes to his infatuation with Asia Argento.

For Chang, the way Bourdain acted was unlike him. "Just the way he was talking about her, I was like, 'Tony you sound like a f***ing ninth grader! What's wrong with you?' But I wasn't going to tell him anything. It was hard to criticize him," he said. Another friend echoed the sentiments and, like Chang, failed to realize Bourdain was facing deeper struggles. "None in our circle of friends knew he was struggling in any life-or-death way," the unnamed friend told People in 2018.

Bourdain's estranged wife, Ottavia Busia, felt Bourdain had difficulties adjusting after moving out of their home. Even though they separated in 2016, they continued to live together for a while. "I really think he needed a stable environment around him. When he left, he didn't have that anymore," she told Woolever. Of anyone, Busia feels she is the one who could have spotted something was amiss. "I should have kept an eye on him more," she said on "Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain" (via People).