Following the sad news that Gary Rhodes has passed away at the age of 59, Fleabag actor Kadiff Kirwan has publicly shared a secret act of kindness from the late TV chef. Kadiff played hairdresser Anthony in Fleabag, and has also appeared in the likes of Black Mirror and The Stranger – but before heading to drama school, he worked for Gary at his London restaurant, Rhodes W1. Taking to Twitter, Kadiff wrote: "So sad to hear about the death of Gary Rhodes. In 2008 on my gap year I worked at his restaurant in Marble Arch to save for drama school. Gary was always so lovely. When I left to go to drama school he gave me one is his signed cookbooks, I opened it and there was £200 inside."
Fleabag actor Kadiff Kirwan has revealed Gary Rhodes's secret of kindness
Gary's passing was revealed in a family statement released on Wednesday, which confirmed that the TV star had died “with his beloved wife Jennie by his side”. It read: "The Rhodes family are deeply saddened to announce the passing of beloved husband, father and brother, Gary Rhodes OBE. The family would like to thank everyone for their support and ask for privacy during this time."
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Gary, who was known for his passion for British cuisine, opened his first restaurant in 1997 and in 2006 was made an OBE. His TV credits included appearances on Masterchef and Hell's Kitchen, as well as his own series, Rhodes Around Britain. In 2008, he took part in Strictly Come Dancing, in which he was partnered with Karen Hardy. A statement issued by her dance studio read: "With Karen being away in China, she has limited access to social media and has asked us to post on her behalf. 'I am truly speechless and lost for words but my heart and thoughts go out to his beautiful family at this time. RIP xxx.'"
Gary Rhodes pictured with his wife Jennie
At the time of his death, Gary was in Dubai, where he ran two restaurants - Rhodes W1 and Rhodes Twenty10. Jaideep Bhatia, PR director of the Grosvenor House Dubai, which housed Rhodes W1, said Gary was working "until the day he died". According to TV company Rock Oyster Media, the star had been filming a new ITV series when he was "taken ill very suddenly at home". "All at Rock Oyster Media and Goldfinch are devastated by this tragic news," the company said in a statement.
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Gordon Ramsay and Jamie Oliver are among those who have publicly paid tribute to the talented chef, with Gordon writing 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."