NAPA, Calif. — Celebrity chef Michael Chiarello’s death was caused by an allergic reaction that led to anaphylactic shock and a fatal heart attack, according to a coroner’s report.
Napa County Coroner’s Office spokesperson Henry Wofford announced toxicology and other test results on Wednesday after an autopsy was conducted on the 61-year-old Food Network star, according to the Napa Valley Register.
Chiarello died on Oct. 6 at Providence Queen of the Valley Medical Center in Napa, California, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. He had been hospitalized in Napa for six days after going into anaphylactic shock, according to the Register.
A pathologist confirmed that Chiarello suffered an allergic reaction but could not determine what allergen triggered the chain of events that led to his death, Wofford said Wednesday.
The coroner also found cocaine in Chiarello’s system but he did not die from a drug overdose, Entertainment Tonight reported.
Wofford said the chef was also suffering from high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, sleep apnea and hypothyroidism, according to the Register.
Chiarello hosted shows on PBS, Food Network, Fine Living and Cooking Channel for a decade, according to Variety. He also had guest spots on “Today” and “The View.”
His cooking show, “Easy Entertaining With Michael Chiarello” ran for 10 seasons on Food Network, the entertainment news website reported.
Chiarello also served as a judge on Bravo’s “Top Chef” and “Top Chef Masters.” In 2011, he participated in Food Network’s “Next Iron Chef” competition, Variety reported.
Chiarello’s restaurants included Bottega and Ottimo, both in Napa Valley; and Coqueta, a Spanish restaurant with locations in Napa Valley and in San Francisco, according to the Chronicle.
“His book, ‘Seasons in the Wine Country’ was one of the top few books I read as a young cook that made me want to be a chef,” chef Christopher Kostow told the newspaper. “He was so far ahead of others in relation to expressing seasonality. He did it before other people did it. Full stop.”
Chiarello was born on Jan. 26, 1962, in Red Bluff, California, according to Variety. He opened his first restaurant, Tra Vigne, in Napa Valley in 1987. He branched out into winemaking in 1999, creating Chiarello Family Vineyards, according to the chef’s website.
Chiarello was named Chef of the Year by Food & Wine magazine in 1985, and later received CIA’s Chef of the Year award in 1995, Variety reported.
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