Food Network star and chef Carl Ruiz, who appeared on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and more of Guy Fieri's shows, has died. He was 44.
The cause of his death was not made public.
"I'm heartbroken that my friend chef Carl Ruiz is gone," Fieri tweeted on Sunday. "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."
Ruiz's family restaurant, Marie's Italian Specialties in Chatham Township, New Jersey, was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives twice over the past few years. He was later hired to appear on Fieri's shows Guy's Grocery Games and Guy's Ranch Kitchen.
In June, Ruiz opened the restaurant La Cubana in New York City. A tribute post was posted on the eatery's Instagram page.
"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 post read. " 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," the post continued. "We hope we make you proud, Carlito. To honor the work you loved so much Chef, La Cubana will continue your work in establishing The Carl Ruiz Scholarship Foundation for aspiring chefs. We love you! You are already missed. Rest easy."
Other Food Network stars also rushed to pay tribute to one of their own.
"RIP Carl Ruiz," Guys Grocery Games and Guy's Ranch Kitchen star Eric Greenspan wrote on Instagram. "You hear it a lot, but never could it be more true. The world is significantly worse without you. Heaven doesnt know what just hit it."
"Good buddy of mine is gone," wrote co-star Troy Johnson. "He made people laugh who'd forgotten how to laugh. He set rooms on fire. He was the match and the kerosene. The smartest and lovable-ist asshole I knew. This one gutted me. Goodnight, @carlruiz."
"We were sitting outside our trailer, kickin rocks between shoots, and he says, 'Watch this. I'm gonna get you a thousand followers by saying you suck. No one wants to hear how much I love you,'" he added "That's how 'Troy sucks' was born. The genius anti-genius of Carl. Troy sucks."
Fellow Food Network star Alex Guarnaschelli tweeted, "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."
"Remember how Carl would sometimes say, 'That's it I'm leaving Twitter forever'? Then he would be back on 2 hours later with an update: a hotdog from somewhere special & a cackle of glee?" she added. "Carl was a great cook & shared every moment of his life with us & I already miss it. #rip"