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These stories show Anthony Bourdain was a hero offscreen too

Anthony Bourdain was a hero to of the food world. But people are sharing their stories about his heroism in small ways, too.
President Barack Obama and Anthony Bourdain, probably not discussing foreign policy.
President Barack Obama and Anthony Bourdain, probably not discussing foreign policy.

Whenever a celebrity dies, a wave of emotional reactions take over social media of people talking about what a person they probably never met meant to them.

But Anthony Bourdain wasn’t an idol to be put on a pedestal — he was in the trenches of humanity every single day, sharing the joy he found in the world through food. With every episode of No Reservations and Parts Unknown, every interview, column and social media post, the chef worked to make the world a more curious, inclusive and compassionate place.

And it wasn’t just on camera that he was a global ambassador for decency and kindness. Ever since his death by suicide at age 61 broke earlier today, people have been flooding social media with stories of how he changed their lives, from a waitress struggling with sexual harassment to a boy with leukemia making foodie travel plans for when he recovers.

Here are just a few of the personal accounts of people whose lives were changed and who knew that Bourdain’s compassion extended far beyond the screen.