Antonio Carluccio has passed away at the age of 80. The Italian chef, who founded the restaurant chain Carluccio's, died on Wednesday morning, his agent confirmed. A statement said: "It is with great sadness that we announce that Commendator Antonio Carluccio OBE sadly passed away this morning." No cause of death has yet been given.
In 1981, Antonio opened the Neal Street Restaurant in Covent Garden, where Jamie Oliver went on to work at the start of his career. He went on to launch his eponymous restaurant chain in 1999, and there are now more than 100 restaurants across the UK. Antonio sold his share in the chain for £5million in 2005, and is since said to have lived in a bungalow in South West London.
Antonio Carluccio received an OBE in 2007
A tweet shared from Carluccio's paid tribute to Antonio following the news of his death, saying: "We are incredibly saddened by the news that Antonio Carluccio passed away today. He was a huge inspiration to us & his energy & sense of humour will be greatly missed.
Antonio received an OBE from the Queen for his services to the catering industry in 2007, and received the Commendatore – the equivalent of a British knighthood – from the Italian government in 1998 for services to Italy.
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The celebrity chef wrote more than a dozen books
The 80-year-old wrote more than a dozen books, and will also be remembered for his role in TV programmes, including the BBC Two series The Two Greedy Italians alongside chef Gennaro Contaldo. The chef published his memoirs in 2012, in which he wrote about the depression he experienced following the death of his brother, along with his struggles after his 28-year marriage to designer Sir Terence Conran's sister Priscilla ended.