Celebrity chef and restaurateur Antonio Carluccio has died at the age of 80, his agent confirmed today (Wednesday, November 8).
The chef, who Jamie Oliver described as his mentor, had been known as the godfather of Italian gastronomy and had 96 eponymous restaurants across the UK, including one in Chester and one at Cheshire Oaks.
A regular on TV shows including Saturday Morning Kitchen and Two Greedy Italians, which he presented with friend and fellow chef Gennaro Contaldo, Carluccio also received the Commendatore, the equivalent of a British knighthood, from the Italian government for services to Italy in 1998.
Three-times married Carluccio, who was born in Salerno, southern Italy, sold his share in the Carluccio's chain for £5 million in 2005 and lived in a bunglaow in South London.
He is believed to have died this morning following a fall at his home.
Masterchef critic William Sitwell wrote on Instagram: "The saddest news. One of the loveliest people, and a really wonderful friend, Antonio Carluccio, has died."
In a touching tribute, he shared memories of the chef, writing: "He had such warmth and at 80 great energy.
"He was only working in Australia very recently.
"It is so sad but what an absolute joy to know that he really was a friend. Every mushroom growing quietly beneath a pile of leaves in one of the secret woods that only he knew about might shed a little tear knowing he will never pick one of them again."