Award-winning restaurateur and BBC star Russell Norman has died aged 57 following a short illness in hospital, his business partner has announced.
Mr Norman died surrounded by his family and friends yesterday, reportedly after a ‘cardiac arrest’ – and just weeks after his fourth cookbook, Brutto, was published.
He was lauded as the ‘new king of Soho dining’ when he established himself on the London restaurant scene in 2012 after he invented the concept of small Italian plates and revived the Negroni cocktail.
The news was announced by his business partner Richard Beatty, with whom Mr Norman co-founded the popular London restaurants Spuntino and Polpo.
Mr Beatty said: ‘It is with the greatest sadness I announce the loss of my best friend Russell Norman.
‘After a short battle in hospital, he died surrounded by family and friends.’
Mr Beatty added: ‘Russell is survived by his wife and three children. I ask that you respect the privacy of his family, friends and colleagues at this time.’
Mr Norman was married to Jules McNally and had three children – two daughters, Martha and Mabel, that he had with Ms McNally, and son Ollie from a previous relationship.
Mr Norman died following a cardiac arrest, London’s Evening Standard newspaper reported.
Tributes have poured in, including from restaurant critic Jay Rayner who hailed Mr Norman was ‘one of the most gifted of restaurateurs’.
He said: ‘So sorry to hear of the death, far too young, of Russell Norman.
‘He was one of the most gifted of restaurateurs, a terrific writer and an awful lot of fun to be around.
‘He very much lived life his own way. My thoughts are with his family and friends.’
Fellow London restauranter Robin Gill said he was ‘totally shocked’ by the passing of Mr Norman, who he said was an ‘legend’ and an ‘inspiration’, the online restaurant guide Square Meal reports.
Mr Norman published several cookbooks, the first of which was called Polpo and sold 250,000 copies and was the Waterstones Book of the Year in the same year.
The restauranter presented a six-part documentary for BBC2 in 2014 called The Restaurant Man.