Celebrity chef Carl Ruiz had a personality that was larger than life. The Food Network personality was a regular guest on several of Guy Fieri’s series and established a huge following as a restaurateur. Scroll below for details on his life and career before his death.

Who Was Carl Ruiz From Food Network? 

Carl was a favorite among viewers on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, Guy’s Grocery Games and Guy’s Ranch Kitchen. He kickstarted his culinary career after attending the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City. 

In June 2019, the TV personality opened his own restaurant called La Cubana in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District. He was inspired by his Cuban heritage when it came to the menu and the addition of live Latin music played at the space. 

What Happened to Carl Ruiz? How He Died, Cause of Death
Courtesy of Carl Ruiz/Instagram

What Happened to Carl Ruiz From Food Network? 

Three months after opening his restaurant, Carl died in his sleep at the age of 44 in September 2019 in Maryland. His official cause of death was atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, “the buildup of fats, cholesterol and other substances in and on the artery walls,” per Mayo Clinic. He is survived by his brother and his parents. 

“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,” a post on La Cubana’s Instagram page 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.”

The post also revealed that the employees at La Cubana planned to establish The Carl Ruiz Scholarship Foundation for aspiring chefs. Guy took to Twitter to mourn his friend after his devastating passing. 

“I’m heartbroken that my friend, chef Carl Ruiz, is gone,” he tweeted at the time. “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.”

On the one-year anniversary of Carl’s death, the Emmy winner honored his friend with a tribute posted on Instagram.

“One year ago today, I lost one of my favorite people in the world,” he said in the video. “One of the greatest chefs, one of my best friends and one of the funniest people I’ve ever met in my life.”

Guy encouraged his followers to honor Carl’s memory by going out to restaurants and “tip super generously” like the late chef always did. 

“Show us how you were a generous tipper and tell us where you went,” he added. “We will be doing exactly what Carl would be doing to help folks in the restaurant industry during these challenging times.”