Carl Ruiz, Food Network Star, Dies at 44

Jeremy Fuster

Carl Ruiz, celebrity chef who regularly appeared on Guy Fieri’s Food Network shows, died Saturday at the age of 44, according to a statement from his New York restaurant, La Cubana.

“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,” the restaurant’s statement reads.

“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.”

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The cause of Ruiz’s death has not been confirmed.

Ruiz was a regular on three of Guy Fieri’s shows: “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” “Guy’s Grocery Games,” and “Guy’s Ranch Kitchen,” and was good friends with many of Food Network’s stars. Fieri expressed his condolences on Twitter, along with other Food Network chefs.

I’m heartbroken that my friend chef Carl Ruiz is gone. 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. pic.twitter.com/einY8qp7wf

- Guy Fieri (@GuyFieri) September 22, 2019


Fieri added in a subsequent tweet:

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.

– Guy Fieri (@GuyFieri) September 22, 2019


Others chimed in with condolences.

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. Thank you @guyfieri for bringing Carl into all of our lives. #GGG pic.twitter.com/4g3Xyfq9kH

– Jet Tila (@jettila) September 22, 2019


This man was somehow fatherly, comforting, wise, reckless, brilliant, wickedly funny & unique all in 1. My life will be lonelier without him. Love you Carl. I’ll make sure no one puts pineapple on pizza best I can without you here. ??'”#rip @carlruiz pic.twitter.com/zgzVX1xlhy

– alex guarnaschelli (@guarnaschelli) September 22, 2019


This man was somehow fatherly, comforting, wise, reckless, brilliant, wickedly funny & unique all in 1. My life will be lonelier without him. Love you Carl. I’ll make sure no one puts pineapple on pizza best I can without you here. ??'”#rip @carlruiz pic.twitter.com/zgzVX1xlhy

– alex guarnaschelli (@guarnaschelli) September 22, 2019


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In addition to his Food Network appearances, Ruiz hosted his own YouTube series, “Omg Carl’s Food Show,” in which he reviewed chain restaurants. The chef had opened La Cubana just three months ago, and the restaurant says it will start a scholarship fund for aspiring chefs in his honor.

In honor of Ruiz’ work, La Cubana will establish The Carl Ruiz Scholarship Foundation for aspiring chefs.

Read original story Carl Ruiz, Food Network Star, Dies at 44 At TheWrap