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.
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.
Extremely sad to know of Gary Rhodes sudden passing away.— Vineet Bhatia (@Vineet_Bhatia) November 27, 2019
Had known this gem of a man for years and intact filmed with him just 4 days ago for his new TV series.
RIP my friend and may God give strength to Jennie and your boys in these tough times. 🙏🙏🙏 pic.twitter.com/893LhW8jij
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."
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.
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.
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.”
We lost a fantastic chef today in Gary Rhodes. He was a chef who put British Cuisine on the map. Sending all the love and prayers to your wife and kids. You’ll be missed Gx pic.twitter.com/RRWlWhjup8— Gordon Ramsay (@GordonRamsay) November 27, 2019
So sad to hear the news about Gary Rhodes. A true culinary icon and a lovely man. Sending my love and thoughts to his wife Jennie and their boys. RIP, my friend. xx— Ainsley Harriott (@AinsleyFoods) November 27, 2019
I’ve just heard the news about #GaryRhodes. Utterly shocked and heartbroken! We spent years of fun with Gary and Jenny before they left for Dubai. He was a proper ‘mate’ and the news hasn’t sunk in yet. Sending all our love to Jen and the boys at this incredibly sad time 😭— Cheryl Baker (@Cherylbaker) November 27, 2019
So very sorry sorry to hear of the death of Gary Rhodes. A charming man, kind and thoughtful.— Andrew Castle (@AndrewCastle63) November 27, 2019
With all our love to Jennie and the two boys Sam and George.
Gary and I were terrified on Strictly together and became very close.
A terrible loss.
Other celebrities to pay tribute included Steve Norman of Spandau Ballet, former MasterChef winner Shelina Permalloo, singer Paul Young and actor Colin McFarlane.
Shocked and sad to hear of this gent’s passing. He was so sweet, polite and fun to be with. He showed wannabe chefs how to cook and wannabe celebrities how to behave #GaryRhodes pic.twitter.com/zVcayBHsjv— Steve Norman (@SteveNormanReal) November 27, 2019
So sad to hear about Gary Rhodes he was a pioneer of his time. Sending much love to the family x https://t.co/4K2ToZKOGs— Shelina Permalloo (@shelinacooks) November 27, 2019
So sad to hear Gary Rhodes the British chef died last night at just 59. He was at the forefront of the gastronomy explosion in the 80s, ate at his place many times & just missed my chance to go to his restaurant in Dubai a couple of months ago. My sympathies to his wife & family— Paul Young (@PaulYoungParlez) November 27, 2019
So sad to hear about #GaryRhodes passing & so young it reminds us all of our fragile mortality. His are the only cookery books I have ever used & they always allowed me to impress. At least we know they will eat well in heaven. Rest well sir. Sending love&support to your family🙏🏽 https://t.co/cJvyyJH5ks— Colin McFarlane (@colinmcfarlane) November 27, 2019
Tom Kerridge, formerly Rhodes’ sous chef, tweeted that he was shocked and saddened by the news.
1/2 I’m deeply shocked and hugely saddened to hear the tragic news about Gary Rhodes. He is one of the greatest British chefs who almost single handedly put British food on the world stage. Taking simple ingredients, embracing classic dishes & making something world class— Tom Kerridge (@ChefTomKerridge) November 27, 2019