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Kerry Simon, a Las Vegas-based "Rock n' Roll Chef" and Iron Chef alum, has died at age 60.
He passed away on Sept. 11 after a two-year battle with the brain disease Multiple System Atrophy (MSA). Prior to his death, he was confined to a wheelchair and unable to speak as a result of his illness, which is incurable. His friend, reporter and former Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous host Robin Leach, wrote in The Las Vegas Sun that Simon's business partner and two Tibetan monks visited him at the hospice where he had been staying to say bedside prayers as he passed.
"Our thoughts & prayers are with his family, partners and closest friends as they seek strength from his amazing courage in brutal2 yr fight," Leach tweeted.
He later thanked fans for their condolence messages, saying, "Yes he will be missed greatly but he's got more customers than ever to now feed in heaven."
Kerry appeared on season two of the Food Network show Iron Chef America in 2005, where he faced off against Iron Chef Cat Cora in a modern American cuisine-themed challenge and won. He also appeared on episodes of Hell's Kitchen in 2010.
Simon rose to fame when Donald Trump's then-wife Ivana Trump appointed him the executive chef of the Plaza Hotel's Edwardian Room. He went on to open his own restaurants.
In Las Vegas, Simon had eateries at the Palms Place Boutique Hotel & Spa, where he had celebrated his 60th birthday this past March and which closed two months later; the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino and Harrah's.
He owned Carson Kitchen, a Las Vegas American gastro lounge, which serves specialties such as gyro tacos, veal meatballs, cocoa-espresso NY strip steak, Secret Sunday chicken, Wild Boar Sloppy Joes and Alligator Gumbo.
He also catered rock star tours, Leach said.
"We are deeply saddened by the passing of Kerry Simon," read a message posted on Carson Kitchen's Instagram page. "Kerry fought a long and courageous battle, and through it all we've admired his passion for life and his amazing desire for greatness in each of our restaurants. There are no words to describe how much we will miss our colleague, our leader, and our friend. In his passing we will forever hold onto Kerry's love for bringing people together through food. Keep Calm and Kerry On!"
The Palms Casino Resort paid tribute to Simon on Facebook as well.
"All of us at Palms are deeply saddened by the passing of Chef Kerry Simon, who was a beloved part of the Palms family for many years," read the post. "His passion, his creativity and his spirit made an indelible mark on our property and the entire Las Vegas culinary scene that will not soon be matched. Our thoughts and condolences are with his family. Chef Kerry Simon battled with Multiple System Atrophy. To contribute to the fight against MSA, click here."
The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino also honored Simon, posting on Twitter a photo of him in a wheelchair, wearing a black T-shirt that reads, "F--k MSA."
"Today we not only remember those who lost their lives in 9.11; but we also grieve the loss of Chef @KerrySimon," the tweet read.
Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman also paid tribute to Simon.
"This is very sad for all of us," she tweeted. "Kerry was a good friend and consummate chef. He made a huge impact on LV and we are saddened by his passing."