The Tragic 2017 Death Of Star Chef Darren Simpson

At merely 21, chef Darren Simpson had accomplished what many aspiring chefs his age could only dream of. After two years of working as a professional chef, he was named the U.K.'s Young Chef of the year, becoming the youngest person to win the prestigious title, per The Daily Telegraph. Born in Northern Ireland, Simpson dreamt of making cooking his career after a family friend who was a chef by profession inspired him, per The Scotsman. He started his career in London, where he worked at the Michelin-starred Le Gavroche before moving back to Ireland. Back home, he worked in another acclaimed restaurant Roscoff, per Good Food.

In 1999, Simpson moved to Australia, where he was headhunted to be Sydney's Aqua Luna Bar and Restaurant's head chef. The opportunity would mark the beginning of his illustrious career in the country. His success with the restaurant was remarkable, and in 2005, he opened La Sala (The Room) in Woollahra, a modern Italian restaurant.

Simpson's culinary prowess had not only earned him a name in the industry, but he was also on his way to becoming a household name, with appearances on Australian TV shows including "Ready Steady Cook" and "My Restaurant Rules." In 2011, he earned another accolade when the Australian Hotels Association named him Chef of the Year. Simpson was living the dream, but everything came to a tragic end when he suddenly died in 2017.

Forever a star chef

As reported by The Daily Telegraph, culinary maestro Darren Simpson died after suffering a heart attack in a Brisbane hospital. He reportedly struggled with alcoholism and had stayed in a Queensland rehabilitation facility before his untimely death. The Sydney Morning Herald reported that Simpson's sudden demise was related to his alcohol overuse.

Simpson's friends and loved ones were heartbroken following the tragedy. Many of them took to social media to extend their condolences. Per the Daily Mail, "My Kitchen Rules" judge Colin Fassnidge remembered him as a "sparring partner" and said Simpson would be remembered as an exceptional cook. The executive producer of "Ready Steady Cook," Maria Michael, called Simpson an "extraordinary talent." And The Sydney Morning Herald's chief restaurant critic Terry Durack said he knew Simpson as a "real one," adding, "He brought that cocky Irish charm to everything he did, but was actually a big old softie inside."

Simpson shared two sons, Hamish and Angus, with his wife, Julie.

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).