TV chef Gary Rhodes dies at 59

Albertina Lloyd
Entertainment reporter, Yahoo UK

Celebrity chef Gary Rhodes has died at the age of 59.

The star of MasterChef and MasterChef USA – famous for his signature spiky hairdo – died at his family home in Dubai, where he has lived since 2011.

The TV personality reportedly fell ill during a break in filming on a new series he was making for ITV.

In a statement released to Sky News by independent content producer Goldfinch TV and Rock Oyster Media, who was producing Rhodes’ new show, the company confirmed: "Gary was in the middle of filming a wonderful new series with Rock Oyster Media for ITV from his base in Dubai.

"Gary was taken ill very suddenly at home during a break in filming and died a short time afterwards.

"Production was obviously halted as soon as Gary was taken ill and members of the Rock Oyster Team remain in Dubai to support the family as best they can."

Award-winning chef Vineet Bhatia shared a photo of himself with Rhodes, saying he was filming with him just four days ago.

Fellow celebrity chefs Gordon Ramsay, Ainsley Harriott and Jamie Oliver are among those have paid tribute.

His family said in a statement: "The Rhodes family are deeply saddened to announce the passing of beloved husband, father and brother, Gary Rhodes OBE.

"Gary passed away last evening at the age of 59, with his beloved wife Jennie by his side.

"The family would like to thank everyone for their support and ask for privacy during this time."

Gary Rhodes opens Dublin brasserie Rhodes D7 in 2006 (PA)

Rhodes had two sons, Sam and George, with wife Jennie. He was granted his OBE in 2006 and earned a record five Michelin stars during his career.

Born in 1960, he underwent major brain surgery at 19 when he was hit by a transit van on a night out.

He got his big break on TV at 27 and his TV shows include the likes of Rhodes Around Britain and Gary's Perfect Christmas.

Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson and Gary Rhodes at the opening of a restaurant at the club (PA)

In 2008 he competed on Strictly Come Dancing and was the third celebrity to be voted off after the judges slated his footwork as “flat as a pancake”.

He moved to the United Arab Emirates in 2011 and opened steakhouse restaurant called Rhodes Twenty10.

Gary Rhodes was famous for his energetic TV performances (PA)

A message on its website reads: "Closed from 16th September until further notice."

A statement from the hotel where he worked said: “The team at Grosvenor House Dubai and Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort and Spa are devastated to hear of the tragic passing of Chef Gary Rhodes OBE.

“Not only has the industry lost a true culinary legend, we have also lost an inspirational human being and a very dear friend.

“No words can express our sadness at Gary’s death or our gratitude for the opportunity to work with him. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Rhodes family.”

Tributes have flooded in from stars including fellow chefs Gordon Ramsay, Jamie Oliver, James Martin and Ainsley Harriott and TV presenters Cheryl Baker and Andrew Castle.

Great British Bake Off judge Prue Leith told the Press Association news agency: “Gary was the first rock star of cooking, making it cool for boys to cook.

“Spiky haircut, tight trousers, full of energy. And a great chef.”

Other celebrities to pay tribute included Steve Norman of Spandau Ballet, former MasterChef winner Shelina Permalloo, singer Paul Young and actor Colin McFarlane.

Tom Kerridge, formerly Rhodes’ sous chef, tweeted that he was shocked and saddened by the news.