Carl Ruiz, Food Network star and celeb chef, dies at 44

Food Network star Carl Ruiz has passed away at the age of 44, as announced by friends of the noted celebrity chef (via TMZ). It has been reported that he experienced a heart attack and died in his sleep on Saturday night. 

Just a few months ago, Ruiz opened a restaurant in NYC called La Cubana, and before that, enjoyed over 25 years of success in the food and restaurant industry (via La Cubana New York). He helped open restaurants all over the world, headlined culinary events, teamed up with other celebrity chefs, frequently appeared on the Food Network, and hosted wildly popular radio shows on Sirius XM Radio. 

La Cubana posted a lengthy announcement and tribute to the popular chef. "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," they wrote on Instagram. "No words can fully express our sadness at the sudden loss of our dear friend and brother."

Celeb chefs pay tribute to Carl Ruiz

Once news of his death broke, memories started to pour in from other noted celebrities in the restaurant world. Guy Fieri, who worked with Ruiz several times on several of the former's Food Network shows, posted a heartfelt note on Twitter. "I'm heartbroken that my friend chef Carl Ruiz is gone," wrote Fieri. "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."

Another fellow Food Network chef, Jet Tila, also wrote a tribute to Ruiz on Twitter. "You taught us how to enjoy every moment to the fullest and not live wondering what if!" he wrote. "You are gone way too soon @carlruiz! I will always be #ruizing!  You will be remembered by us all! #RIP my friend. Thank you @guyfieri for bringing Carl into all of our lives. #GGG"