Chef Eric Ripert Pays Tribute to Anthony Bourdain on His Birthday 6 Years After His Death

Bourdain would have turned 68 on June 25

<p>Neilson Barnard/Getty</p> Anthony Bourdain and Eric Ripert

Neilson Barnard/Getty

Anthony Bourdain and Eric Ripert

Bourdain Day is here.

Eric Ripert honored the late Anthony Bourdain on June 25, which would have been his 68th birthday. Bourdain died by suicide on June 8, 2018. A few weeks later Ripert, 59, and José Andrés declared their friend’s birthday as #BourdainDay, encouraging fans to take "a moment to post & share your tributes & memories," Ripert said at the time.

Now, six years later, Ripert paid tribute to his friend on Instagram, sharing a photo of himself, chef Emeril Lagasse and Andrés with Bourdain.

"WE ❤️ you Tony ... #bourdainday," Ripert wrote in the caption.

Asia Argento, Bourdain's girlfriend at the time of his death, also posted images of Bourdain to her Instagram Stories.

Known for his hit TV series No Reservations and Parts Unknown as well as his book Kitchen Confidential, Bourdain is remembered as an inspiring chef, a master storyteller and a dedicated friend.

<p>Owen Hoffmann/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images</p> Anthony Bourdain in 2016

Owen Hoffmann/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Anthony Bourdain in 2016

His loved ones have been open about their friendships with Bourdain in the past. In 2018, Ripert, who was shooting Parts Unknown with Bourdain when he died, shared a statement with PEOPLE. “He was an exceptional human being, so inspiring and generous," he said.

Andrés — who previously cited his late friend as a source of inspiration for his own travel show, José Andrés and Family in Spain — spoke about Bourdain in an interview with PEOPLE in 2022.

“He was a poet. He was a guy that understood the moment and was able to transform the moment into a phrase that we'll forever remember,” Andrés said.

Andrew Zimmern told PEOPLE Now in September 2018 that he was thinking about Bourdain “all the time.”

“Everyone wanted to be around him and he was just a symphony of a human being,” Zimmern said.

<p>Ben Hider/Getty Images</p> Andrew Zimmern and Anthony Bourdain

Ben Hider/Getty Images

Andrew Zimmern and Anthony Bourdain

In their last conversation before Bourdain died, Zimmern recounted how the two chefs discussed finding personal happiness.

“He was telling me about pursuing my own happiness and he gave me his long sort of speech about it, that I deserved to be happy,” Zimmern said.

Related: Anthony Bourdain Doc Director Defends Decision to Not Interview Asia Argento: 'People Can Disagree'

On an episode of Andrés’ podcast Longer Tables in August 2023, he and Ripert described how the death of their friend brought them “closer together.” On the podcast, Ripert remembered Bourdain as a “very noble man,” and Andrés praised Ripert for his support.

Related: Remembering Anthony Bourdain: His Illustrious Life and Career in Photos

“I remember I was in Guatemala on the day that our friend decided to go to another, better life," he said to Ripert. "And I remember the day — I spoke briefly with you and I know you went through this like a true friend and champion because you were so near him when all of that happened.”

"He was a very great friend of ours, of you José, he loved you very much, very great friend of mine, very noble man," replied Ripert. "And we were very lucky to have him as a friend."

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