Celebrity chef Darren Simpson has died, reportedly following a long battle with illness relating to alcohol addiction.
It is understood the Irish-born father-of-two suffered a heart attack on Thursday night in a hospital near his Byron Bay home in northern New South Wales.
Prior to his admission to hospital, Simpson was staying at a rehabilitation centre seeking help for his addiction, News Corp reports.
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Simpson had a long career, filled with success. At just 21, he was named UK’s ‘Young Chef of the Year’ and went on to train at some of the world’s best restaurants.
After arriving in Australia, Simpson was appointed Head Chef of Aqua Luna Bar and Restaurant in Sydney’s Circular Quay. Following this, he opened his own award-winning restaurant in Woollahra called La Sala.
Simpson was also known for his frequent appearances on television shows Sunrise; Ready, Steady, Cook; and The Best.
Most recently, he had been working at The Avenue on the Gold Coast and BV Pizzeria on the Sunshine Coast.
He leaves behind his wife, Julie, and two sons: Hamish, 12, and Angus, 14.
Tributes for Simpson have flooded social media:
Such sad news to hear of my former colleague Darren Simpson passing away today. RIP Dazza.
— Andrew Ballard (@andreweballard) June 22, 2017
R.I.P Darren Simpson you will be missed chef loved working with you.
— Adam Moore (@Chef_AdamMoore) June 22, 2017
— Andrew Heslop (@AndrewHeslop) June 22, 2017
Devastating news to hear of the passing of my friend, mentor & an amazing chef Darren Simpson who I have known… https://t.co/nVSSUHvAaR
— Hashtag Chef (@hashtagchef) June 22, 2017