FOOD Network celebrity chef Carl Ruiz has died at the age of 44. Ruiz’s death was confirmed on the Instagram page of his restaurant, La Cubana, on Sunday The New York City-based restaurant said: “No words can fully express our sadness at the sudden loss of their dear friend and brother ” The cause of death was not immediately clear. He made frequent appearances on The Food Network channel as a competitive chef and judge His devastated pals have paid tribute to the Institute of Culinary Education graduate Guy Fieri, host of the US restaurant series, Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, said: “I’m heartbroken that my friend chef Carl Ruiz is gone “I have no words to describe what a great friend he was to me and my family. “His ability to make me laugh and smile under any circumstances was only outshined by his talent as a chef ” Matt Farah posted a string of tweets on Twitter, expressing his grief. He said: “Carl Ruiz was so good to people that random service providers, salesmen, chefs, and more, would give me discounts and white glove service just for knowing him “‘Any friend of Carl’s’ would get the Goodfellas ‘in through the kitchen, table up front’ treatment “We didn’t deserve him.” Farah added: “Nobody knew food like Carl. I would text him random ass places in the middle of nowhere, and he’d have not just a recommendation, but a specific series of menu items “The only decent meal I’ve ever eaten within 20 miles of a race track is because of Carl ” Chef Ben Ford, son of Harrison Ford and Mary Marquardt, said: “Our community lost a good one yesterday Way too young. RIP.” Ruiz’s final post, shared on Saturday, captured a “delicious” meal he was enjoying on his trip to Baltimore He said: “Delicious Crab Cakes with collard greens and red beans and rice. Heaven ” La Cubana, his most recent restaurant, opened in Manhattan’s plush neighbourhood of Chelsea in June this year It features the cuisine of his Cuban heritage. It plans to honour Ruiz’s memory by establishing a scholarship for aspiring chefs We pay for your stories! Do you have a story for The Sun Online news team? Email us at [email protected] co.uk or call 0207 782 4368 . You can WhatsApp us on 07810 791 502. We pay for videos too Click here to upload yours.