Carl Ruiz Dies: Food Network Star And Celebrity Chef Was 44

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Food Network star and restaurateur Carl Ruiz died Saturday in his sleep of a suspected heart attack. He was 44 years old and his death was confirmed by his restaurant’s Instagram page.

Ruiz opened a new restaurant, La Cubana, in New York City in June. The eatery specializes in authentic Cuban cuisine.

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The late chef appeared on the Food Network in multiple episodes of Guy Fieri’s showcase Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, and also was a frequent judge on the Guy’s Grocery Games competition.

I’m heartbroken that my friend chef Carl Ruiz is gone,” Fieri said on an Instagram post. “I have no words to describe what a great friend he was to me and my family. His ability to make me laugh and smile under any circumstances was only outshined by his talent as a chef. Over the years, I’ve met a lot of great people but a friend like Carl is one in a hundred million. Carl ’The Cuban’ Ruiz will forever live on in my heart and in those of all who loved him.”

Also mourning on social media was chef Jet Tila, who appeared on the shows Chopped and Cutthroat Kitchen, as well as Guy’s Grocery Games. .

“You taught us how to enjoy every moment to the fullest and not live wondering what if! You are gone way too soon @carlruiz! I will always be #ruizing! You will be remembered by us all! #RIP my friend,” he wrote. “Thank you @guyfieri for bringing Carl into all of our lives.”

The Food Network chef Ben Ford added, “Our community lost a good one yesterday. Way too young RIP.”

The La Cubana Instagram page said, “On behalf of the La Cubana family, with heavy hearts, we are deeply saddened to share the passing of our beloved Executive Chef Carl Ruiz. No words can fully express our sadness at the sudden loss of our dear friend and brother.

“Beyond his immense culinary talent, Carl’s larger-than-life personality never failed to entertain, enlighten, and uplift every person he encountered along his #Ruizing adventures. His fierce intellect and infectious humor knew no bounds. He was a mighty force of down home Cuban cuisine, and lived life to the fullest, just as he cooked—with “dancing always” as the most important ingredient. Here at La Cubana, Carl paid proud tribute to his Cuban roots each night, and it is here that Carl’s legacy, undeniable spirit and passion for his culture will live on. We hope we make you proud, Carlito.”

The Food Network has not yet issued a statement. There was no immediate information available on survivors or a memorial service.

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