Charlie Trotter, a famed Chicago chef and author of 14 cookbooks, has passed away. He died on Tuesday, November 5 at the age of 54. According to Chicago Tribune, his son Dylan found him unconscious at his home in Chicago. He was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, but was pronounced dead later.
"We are incredibly shocked and deeply saddened by the unexpected loss of Charlie at our home in Lincoln Park. He was much loved and words can not describe how much he will be missed," Trotter's wife, Rochelle, said in a statement.
"Charlie was a trailblazer and introduced people to a new way of dining when he opened Charlie Trotter's. His impact upon American cuisine and the culinary world at large will always be remembered. We thank you so much for your kind words, love and support. We appreciate the respect for our privacy as we work through this difficult time," she continued.
Trotter started small catering when he was a student at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. After graduating, he decided to gain more experiences by traveling around the U.S. and Europe. He later worked as a chef and caterer before opening his namesake restaurant in 1987.
Before closing in 2012, Charlie Trotter's Restaurant was a fixture in Restaurant Magazine's list of the top 50 restaurants in the world. The establishment also won two Michelin stars and was chosen as the best restaurant in America and best in the world by Wine Spectator in 1998 and 2000.
"We've lost a tremendous human being & a visionary chef, my brother, Charlie Trotter," celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse wrote on Twitter. "MasterChef" judge Graham Elliot said that Trotter's death was a "huge loss" for culinary world. "Charlie was an extreme father figure to me when it came to not just cooking, but life, and seeing things in a different way. I just can't put into words how saddened I am by all of this. It's a huge loss, not just personally, but for the culinary world," he explained.