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Food Community Mourns NYC Celebrity Chef Carl Ruiz, Who Died at 44

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The La Cubana chef died in his sleep Sunday morning

Chef Carl Ruiz

Carl Ruiz, the chef behind Cuban Meatpacking District restaurant La Cubana, has died at 44. A heart attack in his sleep on Sunday morning is believed to be the cause of death, TMZ reports.

Ruiz became a household name for frequent appearances on the Food Network as a competitor and judge on shows like Guy’s Grocery Games and Guy’s Ranch Kitchen, as well as a host on Sirius XM. He opened several restaurants around the world, with La Cubana most recently in June. In an Instagram post announcing Ruiz’s death, La Cubana wrote that it would start a scholarship foundation for aspiring chefs in his name.

“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,” the post reads.

Friend and YouTube host Matt Farah shared an anecdote to the Times that illustrates this, remembering when Ruiz “was dancing with everybody” at his wedding, and then ordered $300 worth of Domino’s to the after party.

Chefs and colleagues are taking to social media to mourn Ruiz:

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