Celebrity chef Carl Ruiz, owner of New York’s La Cubana restaurant and a Food Network regular, has died at the age of 44, his restaurant confirmed in a Sunday statement.

“No words can fully express our sadness at the sudden loss of our dear friend and brother,” La Cubana wrote on Instagram. A cause of death was not mentioned.

“Beyond his immense culinary talent, Carl’s larger-than-life personality never failed to entertain, enlighten, and uplift every person he encountered along his #Ruizing adventures,” the restaurant added, using a term coined by Ruiz’s fans that Urban Dictionary defines as “just living the simple, best life.”

“His fierce intellect and infectious humor knew no bounds. He was a mighty force of down home Cuban cuisine, and lived life to the fullest, just as he cooked,” La Cubana said.

View this post on Instagram

On behalf of the La Cubana family, with heavy hearts, we are deeply saddened to share the passing of our beloved Executive Chef Carl Ruiz. No words can fully express our sadness at the sudden loss of our dear friend and brother. Beyond his immense culinary talent, Carl's larger-than-life personality never failed to entertain, enlighten, and uplift every person he encountered along his #Ruizing adventures. His fierce intellect and infectious humor knew no bounds. He was a mighty force of down home Cuban cuisine, and lived life to the fullest, just as he cooked—with “dancing always” as the most important ingredient. Here at La Cubana, Carl paid proud tribute to his Cuban roots each night, and it is here that Carl's legacy, undeniable spirit and passion for his culture will live on. We hope we make you proud, Carlito. . To honor the work you loved so much Chef, La Cubana will continue your work in establishing The Carl Ruiz Scholarship Foundation for aspiring chefs. . We love you! You are already missed. Rest easy 🙏🏽

A post shared by La Cubana (@lacubananyc) on Sep 22, 2019 at 9:22am PDT

As NJ.com noted, Ruiz first gained national attention in 2013 when Marie’s Italian Specialties, a deli and cafe Ruiz owned in his home state of New Jersey, was featured on an episode of Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.”

Ruiz would go on to appear in several Food Network shows, including “Guy’s Grocery Games,” hosted by celebrity chef Guy Fieri.

Fieri said Sunday that he was “heartbroken” by Ruiz’s death.

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. pic.twitter.com/einY8qp7wf

— Guy Fieri (@GuyFieri) September 22, 2019

Over the years, I’ve met a lot of great people but a friend like Carl is one in a hundred million. Carl ’The Cuban’ Ruiz will forever live on in my heart and in those of all who loved him.

— Guy Fieri (@GuyFieri) September 22, 2019

Several other Food Network stars have also paid tribute to the chef.

“The world is significantly worse without you. Heaven doesn’t know what just hit it,” chef Eric Greenspan wrote on Instagram.

“He made people laugh who’d forgotten how to laugh. He set rooms on fire. He was the match and the kerosene,” said food critic Troy Johnson.

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RIP Carl Ruiz. You hear it a lot, but never could it be more true. The world is significantly worse without you. Heaven doesnt know what just hit it.

A post shared by Eric Greenspan (@chefgreeny) on Sep 22, 2019 at 8:45am PDT

Good buddy of mine is gone. He made people laugh who’d forgotten how to laugh. He set rooms on fire. He was the match and the kerosene. The smartest and lovable-ist asshole I knew. This one gutted me. Goodnight, @carlruiz. pic.twitter.com/kYpkgeEIEr

— Troy Johnson (@_troyjohnson) September 22, 2019

You taught us how to enjoy every moment to the fullest and not live wondering what if! You are gone way too soon @carlruiz ! I will always be #ruizing! You will be remembered by us all! #RIP my friend. Thank you @guyfieri for bringing Carl into all of our lives. #GGG pic.twitter.com/4g3Xyfq9kH

— Jet Tila (@jettila) September 22, 2019

Such incredibly sad news…..@carlruiz you will be missed my friend. May the heavens welcome you brother 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼

— Scott Conant (@conantnyc) September 22, 2019 Download REAL LIFE. REAL NEWS. REAL VOICES. Help us tell more of the stories that matter from voices that too often remain unheard. Join HuffPost Plus

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