Celebrity chef Carl Ruiz, the owner of La Cubana restaurant in NYC, who was known for his appearances on The Food Network, has died. He was just 44 years old.
La Cubana broke the sad news of his shock death on its social media sites.
"No words can fully express our sadness at the sudden loss of our dear friend and brother," the post said.
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According to friends of the TV star who featured in cooking shows such as Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and Guy's Grocery Games, Ruiz passed away in his sleep on Sunday AEDT from a suspected heart attack.
Tributes to the well-loved chef have flooded social media.
Guy Fieri posted
on Instagram that he's "heartbroken" at the news.
"Over the years, I've met a lot of great people, but a friend like Carl is one in a hundred million," he posted.
"Carl 'The Cuban' Ruiz will forever live on in my heart and in those of all who loved him."
"You taught us how to enjoy every moment to the fullest and not live wondering what if," chef Jet Tila, who's appeared on several cooking shows, tweeted.
"Can't explain the profound specialness of some people," Alex Guarnaschelli said on Instagram.
"This man was somehow fatherly, comforting, wise, reckless, brilliant, wickedly funny and unique all rolled into one."
La Cubana said it will continue to Carl's work in establishing the Carl Ruiz Scholarship Foundation for "aspiring chefs."