Globally renowned chef, Benoit Violier, whose Swiss restaurant was named the best in the world at the end of last year, has been found dead at his home.
The 44-year-old ran the Restaurant de l’Hotel de Ville in Crissier, near the city of Lausanne, which earned three Michelin stars and came top in France’s La Liste ranking of the world’s 1,000 best eateries.
According to BBC reports, Swiss police said Mr Violier appeared to have shot himself.
It reported that the Swiss news website 24 Heures said (in French) that Mr Violier had been due to attend the launch of the new Michelin guide in Paris on Monday.
His death comes only months after that of Philippe Rochat, his mentor and predecessor at the Restaurant de l’Hotel de Ville, who fell ill while cycling.
Having worked at the restaurant since 1996, Mr Violier took it over along with his wife Brigitte in 2012, later obtaining Swiss nationality.
Accepting the La Liste award, given by France’s foreign ministry as an alternative to the World’s 50 Best Restaurants prize, Mr Violier said it was an “exceptional” honour that would “only motivate our team more”.
French chef Pierre Gagnaire tweeted: “My thoughts go out to Benoit Violier’s family. Very sad news about an extremely talented chef.”
Paul Bocuse, another leading French chef, called Mr Violier a “great man and a gigantic talent”.