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Celebrity Chef Antonio Carluccio Dies At 80

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Celebrity chef Antonio Carluccio has died at the age of 80.

Carluccio, who had been called the godfather of Italian cooking in the U.K., passed away on Nov. 8 after he fell at his home, his agent said, according to Daily Mail.

The celebrated chef was known for his chain of restaurants, Carluccio's, as well as his role in BBC's "Two Greedy Italians," in which he co-starred with chef Gennaro Contaldo. At the time of his death, Carluccio was working on books and was planning a trip to Italy in 2018.

Carluccio's Neal Street Restaurant in Covent Garden was a success from its inception in 1981, when the chef won runner-up in the Sunday Times' Cook of the Year contest. Before it closed in 2007, the Neal Street Restaurant served VIP guests such as Elton John and the Prince of Wales.

In 1998, Carluccio received a Commendatore from the Italian government, similar to the U.K.'s knighthood.

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In 2012, He received the AA Hospitality Lifetime Achievement Award.

Carluccio authored a number of books, including "An Invitation to Italian Cooking" and "A Passion for Mushrooms," along with books accompanying his TV programs, reports The Irish Times. He also published a book of memoirs, "A Recipe for Life," in 2012, as well as a collection of over 300 recipes from throughout his career, called "Antonio Carluccio: The Collection."

He had said that his kitchen motto was, "Minimum of fuss, maximum of flavor."

Carluccio had reportedly struggled with depression throughout his life, including six attempts to take his own life. In one such incident, he said that he had tried to stab himself to death with a pair of scissors, covering it up by saying he had cut himself by accident.

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"I adored him, we are all devastated," said Carluccio's publicist. "His family [is] so upset. He wasn't ill, he was in bubbly form when I last saw him."

Jamie Oliver, a celebrity chef and businessman who worked at Carluccio's Neal Street Restaurant in London, paid tribute to his former boss in a post on Instagram.

Oliver reported Carluccio's death "with great sadness," and wrote about how much he had enjoyed working for the restaurateur.

"He was such a charismatic charming don of all things Italian," wrote Oliver, who added that Carluccio was "an amazing food ambassador that will be sorely missed."

"It was a privilege and an honor to have met and worked with Antonio, one of the true greats of TV chefs," said TV chef James Martin. "His passion and commitment to both the restaurant business and to television was lifelong. He was a giant in the food world and he helped bring Italian for to the masses around the world. My thoughts go out to his family. Sadly missed."

Carluccio's restaurant chain also paid tribute to its founder in a statement, BBC reports.

"It isn't just Antonio's name above our doors, but his heart and soul lives and breathes throughout our restaurants," said Carluccio's.

In a 2016 interview with the Press Association, Carluccio revealed his secret for a happy life, notes the BBC.

"My philosophy is to be happy and to make people happy," said the esteemed chef. "And by result, if you make people happy they make you happy. I like to have money, because money is good. But it's not too good, you know?"

Sources: Daily Mail, BBC, The Irish Times / Featured Image: Alpha/Flickr / Embedded Images: Andrew Hendo via Wikimedia Commons, Ernesto Andrade/Flickr

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