Dubai: Tributes were paid in Dubai on Thursday for celebrity chef Gary Rhodes as friends and family confirmed he died in the city on Tuesday of a ‘subdural haematoma’ after he ‘slipped and banged his head’.
Speculation surrounding the 59-year-old Brit’s passing mounted after fellow chef Jamie Oliver posted on social media that Rhodes died as a result of a ‘tragic fall’ before deleting the message.
Dubai Police had told Gulf News at the time that it was as a result of natural causes, while initial reports in the British press said that he was taken ill during a break in filming and died later in hospital with his wife by his side.
A statement from the Rhodes family on Thursday said, “In order to end painful speculation surrounding the sudden passing of our beloved Gary Rhodes OBE, the Rhodes family can confirm that after a successful day shooting with Rock Oyster Media for ITV here in Dubai, Gary returned home in a very happy mood for a peaceful evening with his wife Jennie.
“After dinner, Gary unfortunately collapsed in their residence and was rushed to hospital but unfortunately passed away due to subdural haematoma.
“At this time, there are no other details and the family would again request privacy around this very tragic loss and again, thank friends and family for their ongoing support at this time.”
Friend and fellow chef Vineet Bhatia told the Daily Mail, “I have been told by friends in Dubai that he slipped and banged his head and was then taken to hospital.”
The British press have noted that Rhodes was hit by a truck while running to catch a tram in Amsterdam when he was 19 back in 1979 and that during this incident he suffered a blood clot on the brain. After this incident doctors warned him of the risk of further head injuries.
Rhodes ran two restaurants in Dubai, Rhodes W1 at the Grosvenor House Hotel and Rhodes Twenty10 at Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort and Spa.
Both restaurants had pictures and floral tributes to the chef outside their establishments on Thursday.
A joint statement from the hotels read, “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.”
The British Embassy told Gulf News, “Our staff are in contact with the UAE authorities following the death of a British man.”
Rhodes was known as the original celebrity chef when he hit the screens in the late 1990s and early 2000s with his trademark spikey hair. He is widely credited with paving the way for the likes of Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsey.
British Ambassador to the UAE Patrick Moody, tweeted, “Not only was Gary a huge exponent of British cuisine but he also worked passionately promoting Britain around the world as a Great Ambassador. Gary was also a long standing friend of this Embassy and I was honoured to work with him.”