Food Network celebrity chef Carl Ruiz died in his sleep from a heart attack at the age of 44

  • Ruiz died in his sleep on Sept. 21 while visiting friends in Maryland
  • The Dept. of Health confirmed he died of a heart attack at the age of 44
  • He was known for roles on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and Guy's Grocery Games 
  • Guy Fieri, 55, posted a touching tribute to his pal after his death
  • 'I'm heartbroken that my friend chef Carl Ruiz is gone,' he wrote 
  • Carl recently opened a new restaurant, La Cubana, in New York City

Celebrity chef Carl Ruiz died on Sept. 21 after suffering a heart attack while he slept.

The 44-year-old Food Network star succumbed to to atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, according to the Maryland Department of Health.

Ruiz's sudden death was listed as 'natural' and no foul play was suspected, according to TMZ

Tragic: Celebrity chef Carl Ruiz died on Sept. 21 after suffering a heart attack while he slept

Tragic: Celebrity chef Carl Ruiz died on Sept. 21 after suffering a heart attack while he slept

The TV personality was best known for his roles on shows with pal and celebrity restaurateur Guy Fieri.

He was a regular on competition programs after first appearing on Diners, Drive-Ins And Dives.

After forming a friendship with the energetic blonde foodie, Carl went on to star on Guy's Grocery Games and Guy's Ranch Kitchen.

On Sept. 28, Guy showed his appreciation for the Cuban-American chef with a heartfelt post. 

'Today I say goodbye to one of the greatest friends and chefs I ever knew,' he wrote on Twitter. 'He lived life to the fullest, and loved it all. We will miss you Carl'

'Today I say goodbye to one of the greatest friends and chefs I ever knew,' he wrote on Twitter. 'He lived life to the fullest, and loved it all. We will miss you Carl'

Sad loss: The TV personality was best known for his roles on shows with pal and celebrity restaurateur Guy Fieri

Sad loss: The TV personality was best known for his roles on shows with pal and celebrity restaurateur Guy Fieri

'Today I say goodbye to one of the greatest friends and chefs I ever knew,' he wrote on Twitter. 'He lived life to the fullest, and loved it all. We will miss you Carl.' 

A cause of death was not immediately known when he passed away, but friends and family suspected it to be from a heart attack. 

'I'm absolutely gutted,' Matt Farah wrote in a post on Instagram at the time, also confirming Ruiz's passing.  

The Cuban-American previously owned Marie’s Italian Specialities in Chatham Township, New Jersey, with his ex-wife, Marie Riccio, and was well-known for his knowledge of Spanish food. 

His best friend: His longtime friend Guy Fieiri posted a heartbreaking post on social media mourning the passing of his co-star; seen in May

His best friend: His longtime friend Guy Fieiri posted a heartbreaking post on social media mourning the passing of his co-star; seen in May

Twins: On Sept. 28, Guy showed his appreciation for the Cuban-American chef with a heartfelt post

Twins: On Sept. 28, Guy showed his appreciation for the Cuban-American chef with a heartfelt post 

Sad: After forming a friendship with the energetic blonde foodie, Carl went on to star on Guy's Grocery Games and Guy's Ranch Kitchen

Sad: After forming a friendship with the energetic blonde foodie, Carl went on to star on Guy's Grocery Games and Guy's Ranch Kitchen

'I'm heartbroken that my friend chef Carl Ruiz is gone,' Fiere wrote in a tribute upon hearing the news of his death. '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.' 

He had opened La Cubana in Manhattan's Meat Packing district in June, specializing in authentic cuisine from the island nation of his roots. 

Ruiz was described on his restaurant's website as 'an acclaimed chef, consultant, and magnetic media personality whose down-home persona never fails to entertain, educate, and uplift.'

He was in the food and restaurant business for more than 25 years and had opened eateries around the world, in addition to having a successful television and radio career.

He had 'headlined world-famous culinary events — and with his well-earned insights, (became) the 'secret weapon' to success for many other star chefs along the way,' writes the restaurant's website. 

Whether he was 'cooking up Cuban delicacies like Fufu or the classic Elena Ruz Sandwich, offering sage advice to up-and-coming chefs, or critiquing show contestants' finer points of culinary execution, everyone (was) bound to walk away learning something new,' his restaurant's website said. 

Good gig: He was in the food and restaurant business for more than 25 years and had opened eateries around the world, in addition to having a successful television and radio career

Good gig: He was in the food and restaurant business for more than 25 years and had opened eateries around the world, in addition to having a successful television and radio career

They loved to eat: The TV personality was best known for his role on the Food Network shows Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, Guy's Grocery Games and Guy's Ranch Kitchen; here is an image from an episode of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives

They loved to eat: The TV personality was best known for his role on the Food Network shows Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, Guy's Grocery Games and Guy's Ranch Kitchen; here is an image from an episode of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives

Ruiz also made a name for himself on Sirius XM Radio, where he interviewed other chefs, and offered culinary tips with a humorous flare. He also had a podcast on Westwood One.

He was a graduate of the accredited Institute of Culinary Education in New York, and a regular feature in mainstream media. He was quoted by The New York Times, and appeared regularly on the Cooking Channel, ESPN, FOX News and other media outlets.

Ruiz beat out 16 other chefs from Diners, Drive-ins and Dives to take the grand prize on Fieri's Guy's Grocery Games and was a featured judge on the program.

'Over the years, I've met a lot of great people but a friend like Carl is one in a hundred million," added Fieri in his social media post. 'Carl 'The Cuban' Ruiz will forever live on in my heart and in those of all who loved him.

Fieri wasn't the only chef who paid tribute to Ruiz. 

 'You taught us how to enjoy every moment to the fullest and not live wondering what if! You are gone way too soon @carlruiz! I will always be #ruizing! You will be remembered by us all! #RIP my friend,' Jet Tila wrote. 'Thank you @guyfieri for bringing Carl into all of our lives.' 

Hard at work: Ruiz was described on his restaurant's website as 'an acclaimed chef, consultant, and magnetic media personality whose down-home persona never fails to entertain, educate, and uplift'

Hard at work: Ruiz was described on his restaurant's website as 'an acclaimed chef, consultant, and magnetic media personality whose down-home persona never fails to entertain, educate, and uplift'

Another sweet note: Fieri is not the only chef who paid tribute to Ruiz. Jet Tila of Chopped, Cutthroat Kitchen and Guy's Grocery Games fame, said, 'You taught us how to enjoy every moment to the fullest and not live wondering what if!'

Another sweet note: Fieri is not the only chef who paid tribute to Ruiz. Jet Tila of Chopped, Cutthroat Kitchen and Guy's Grocery Games fame, said, 'You taught us how to enjoy every moment to the fullest and not live wondering what if!'

Chef Ben Ford, whose parents are Harrison Ford and Mary Marquardt, added, 'Our community lost a good one yesterday. Way too young RIP.'

'To say he was a great chef, would be putting it lightly. To say he was funny, would be putting it lightly and to say that he was a great friend would be putting it very lightly,' wrote Anthony Rodriguez, a director of photography for Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives in another emotional post.

'I am devastated at the way too soon loss of my friend Carl. Carl, you lived life to the fullest, enjoyed every moment and were one of the truest and most loyal friends anyone could ever ask for,' Rodriguez added.

'The friendship and loyalty and laughs he brought to me and all of the group of friends that knew him best, is just indescribable Carl you were definitely an original and lived the fullest and yet, way to short a life. Vaya con dios mi hermano, te amo ❤️ See you in the next life my friend.'

The staff at La Cuban added that '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.'

Solo's son: Chef Ben Ford, whose parents are Harrison Ford (pictured in 2012) and Mary Marquardt, added, 'Our community lost a good one yesterday. Way too young RIP'

Solo's son: Chef Ben Ford, whose parents are Harrison Ford (pictured in 2012) and Mary Marquardt, added, 'Our community lost a good one yesterday. Way too young RIP'

Food Network celebrity chef Carl Ruiz died in his sleep from a heart attack at the age of 44

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