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Floyd Cardoz, 'Top Chef Masters' winner, dies at 59 from coronavirus complications

Floyd Cardoz, who won Season 3 of Top Chef Masters, died Wednesday due to coronavirus-related complications. The chef's family confirmed the sad news to Indian publication Scroll.in. He was 59.

Cardoz tested positive for COVID-19 on March 18 and was being treated at Mountainside Medical Centre in New Jersey. He was admitted into the hospital one day prior with a viral fever. Cardoz co-owned the Bombay Canteen and O Pedro, two popular restaurants in Mumbai. Cardoz had recently launched his third venture, the Bombay Sweet Shop. His company, Hunger Inc., issued a statement Wednesday.

Floyd Cardoz tested positive for COVID-19 on March 18 and was being treated at a hospital in New Jersey. (Photo: Getty Images)

"It is with deep sorrow that we inform you of the passing away of Chef Floyd Cardoz (59 years), Co-Founder, Hunger Inc. Hospitality, on March 25, 2020 in New Jersey, USA," it said. "He is survived by his mother Beryl, wife Barkha and sons Justin and Peter."

Last week, the Mumbai-raised chef said he fell ill after returning to New York from India on March 8. Cardoz alerted fans on Instagram he contracted the virus, but didn't know how, and that he checked himself into the hospital. Cardoz eventually deleted the post and clarified in a new message his hospitalization was a "precautionary measure" and apologized for any panic he caused.

"I was feeling feverish and hence as a precautionary measure, admitted myself into hospital in New York," he shared in his final Instagram post on March 18. "I was hugely anxious about my state of health and my post was highly irresponsible causing panic in several quarters."

Hunger Inc. said last week the company informed the Health Department in Mumbai of Cardoz's positive COVID-19 result "as a precautionary measure."

"We are also reaching out personally to people who have interacted with him during his visit to India, so they can take necessary medical advice should they indicate any symptoms [fever, cough, shortness of breath] and or [put themselves in] self-quarantine," the company said.

Cardoz worked at New York's since-closed Lespinasse starting as a salad cook. Within three years he became the sous-chef, then chef de cuisine. He really made a splash in Manhattan running the Indian fusion restaurant Tabla. In 2011, he won Bravo's Top Chef Masters. Cardoz donated his $100,000 winnings to the Young Scientist Cancer Research Fund at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in memory of his father.

Top Chef's Padma Lakshmi and Tom Colicchio reacted to the news on social media.

Cardoz also appeared on Season 2 of Netflix's Ugly Delicious, a travelogue reality show that followed James Beard Award-winning chef David Chang around the world. Chang shared an emotional tribute on Twitter, writing, "As great as a chef as Floyd was, he was a better person and amazing dad."

A spokesperson for Bravo issued the following statement to Yahoo Entertainment: "Bravo and the Top Chef family are deeply saddened by the passing of Chef Floyd Cardoz. Floyd was a talented chef who competed and won Top Chef Masters. He was thoughtful, kind and his smile illuminated a room. He was an inspiration to chefs around the world and we offer our deepest sympathy to his family and friends."

For the latest news on the evolving coronavirus outbreak, follow along here. According to experts, people over 60 and those who are immunocompromised continue to be the most at risk. If you have questions, please reference the CDC and WHO’s resource guides. 

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