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Nashville chef Joey Fecci, 26, dies after being found 'unresponsive' while running half-marathon

The talented chef, who had previously worked at New York City's Per Se, left his chef role at Nashville's Yolan in February

Beatriz Colon
Beatriz Colon - New York
New York WriterNew York
April 30, 2024
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The Nashville restaurant industry and running community are mourning the loss of Joey Fecci, who died shortly after running the city's half-marathon over the weekend.

The chef, who was only 26 years old, was running the St. Jude Half Marathon when he seemingly collapsed, and was found unresponsive at the Shelby Park portion of the race.

After receiving urgent medical care at the scene, he was eventually rushed to the hospital, where he died; no cause of death aside from "natural causes," per WSMV, has been disclosed, nor is the death under investigation.

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Per The Tennessean, Joey's family released a statement on Monday which read: "It is with unbearable grief and immense sorrow that we share [that] our dear and beloved Joey transitioned to the other side on Saturday, April 27th."

"He was a bright light of inspiration and positivity to everyone that was blessed to cross paths with him. He was a treasured son, brother, boyfriend, and friend to so many. He leaves behind a broken family that loves him so very much. A more detailed statement will follow," signed by Eric, Patti, Nick, Lucas, and Olivia, the latter being his girlfriend of more than three years.

The Rock 'n' Roll Running Series, which owns the St. Jude Marathon and Half Marathon, also released a statement detailing the heartbreaking incident. "We appreciate the medical personnel who worked quickly to support the participant," the organization shared.

Photo shared by Joey Fecci, the 26-year-old Nashville chef who died after running the half-marathon, on Instagram with his girlfriend Olivia© Instagram
Joey celebrated his three-year anniversary with his girlfriend Olivia in December

It continued: "We share our greatest sympathies with the family and friends of the race participant, and we will continue to offer them our support as they go through this very difficult time. Out of respect for the participant and their family we will have no further comment."

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Joey was originally from Somers, New York, and according to The Tennessean, he started his culinary career when he was 15 years old working as busboy, pizza chef and garde manger at local spot Lucia Restaurant.

Photo shared by Joey Fecci, the 26-year-old Nashville chef who died after running the half-marathon, on Instagram with his team at resturant Yolan© Instagram
The late chef pictured with his Yolan colleagues

He later enrolled in the renowned Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, and went on to work at Michelin-starred restaurants such as Aureole and the famed Thomas Keller spot Per Se.

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Most recently, he had been working at Yolan, an upscale Italian restaurant at The Joseph hotel in downtown Nashville, where he had been promoted from head sous chef to chef de cuisine in 2022 prior to his departure from the restaurant this past February.

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In a post on Instagram announcing his exit – his last – Joey wrote: "I have been fortunate enough to spend the last 3.5 years being a part of something truly great. Working alongside @tonymantuano @ms.cathym19 and helping develop Yolan into the special restaurant it has become has been an incredible experience."

"I have learned so much during my time here, not just as a chef but as a person," he continued, concluding with the hashtag "We Out."

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