Gary Rhodes ‘happy and well at charity event before his death’ as tributes pour in for chef – EXCLUSIVE

It has been announced that TV chef Gary Rhodes has tragically passed away at the age of 59 in Dubai, with his beloved wife by his side.

The Masterchef star had lived in the UAE since 2011, where he owned two restaurants.

A source has exclusively told OK! online that the chef – who starred on Strictly Come Dancing back in 2008 – was in “high spirits” just weeks ago.

They told us: “Gary was in high spirits when I saw him at a black-tie gala event two weeks ago.

“He was his usual bubbly self and was full of smiles as he worked the room looking happy and well.

“The event was in aid of a children’s charity, something that was extremely important to him and he actually bid on several items that night.

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“That is typical Gary, always helping others in whatever way he can.”

Gary’s cause of death has not been made public by his family, but a production company that was working with the chef on a new TV series said he died after falling ill “suddenly”.

In a statement, Rock Oyster Media and Goldfinch TV said: "Gary was in the middle of filming a wonderful new series with Rock Oyster Media for ITV from his base in Dubai.

"Gary was taken ill very suddenly at home during a break in filming and died a short time afterwards.

"Production was obviously halted as soon as Gary was taken ill and members of the Rock Oyster Team remain in Dubai to support the family as best they can."

Gordon Ramsay has paid tribute to Gary, as he wrote on Twitter: “We lost a fantastic chef today in Gary Rhodes. He was a chef who put British Cuisine on the map. Sending all the love and prayers to your wife and kids. You’ll be missed Gx.”

Tom Kerridge also paid tribute as he tweeted: “I’m deeply shocked and hugely saddened to hear the tragic news about Gary Rhodes. He is one of the greatest British chefs who almost single handedly put British food on the world stage. Taking simple ingredients, embracing classic dishes & making something world class”.

He continued: “Many chefs have been through his kitchen, myself included. I consider it to be an honour to have stood alongside him at the pass. My thoughts go out to family and close friends for their huge loss.”

Grosvenor House Dubai and Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort and Spa hotels, who Gary had restaurants in, also released statements.

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The note read: “The team at Grosvenor House Dubai and Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort and Spa are devastated to hear of the tragic passing of Chef Gary Rhodes OBE.

“Not only has the industry lost a true culinary legend, we have also lost an inspirational human being and a very dear friend.

“No words can express our sadness at Gary’s death or our gratitude for the opportunity to work with him. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Rhodes family.”

Gary’s family confirmed the tragic news by releasing a statement which read: “The Rhodes family are deeply saddened to announce the passing of beloved husband, father and brother, Gary Rhodes OBE.

“Gary passed away last evening, Tuesday 26th November 2019, at the age of 59, with his beloved wife Jennie by his side.

“The family would like to thank everyone for their support and ask for privacy during this time.”

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