TV chef and Saturday Kitchen star Russell Norman took his own life in the garden of his Kent home, an inquest has heard.
The respected restaurateur and dad-of-three was rushed to hospital after being found lifeless at the house in Pluckley, near Ashford, in November.
A coroner told how the tragic discovery had been made by the 57-year-old’s partner, Dr Genevieve Verdigel.
A pulse was discovered during CPR efforts but Mr Norman had suffered severe brain damage and died five days later in hospital.
His unexpected death sent shockwaves through the restaurant world, in which he was seen as a trailblazer having opened a series of unique and award-winning London eateries.
The circumstances of the tragedy were investigated by police before being examined yesterday by a coroner.
The inquest at Oakwood House in Maidstone was told the celebrity chef had gone into the garden at his home after arguing with his partner on November 18.
In a statement read out by coroner Katrina Hepburn, art historian Dr Verdigel told how she had discovered Mr Norman lifeless soon after.
“I ran back inside to call 999,” she said.
“I was trying to do CPR. I was screaming and the people next door came round.”
A pulse was detected during the resuscitation attempts, and when paramedics arrived Mr Norman was taken to the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford.
Doctors found he had suffered brain damage and he was placed on end-of-life care. He died five days later, on November 23.
The inquest was told Mr Norman had been displaying “suicidal tendencies” around the time of his death.
Toxicology tests showed he had alcohol in his system at twice the legal limit for driving.
The cause of his death was given as a brain injury caused by hanging, with the coroner passing a ruling of suicide.
Mr Norman’s reputation had earned him regular guest spots on the BBC’s popular weekend show Saturday Kitchen, and his own primetime documentary series, The Restaurant Man.
Following his death, former Saturday Kitchen host James Martin told of the lasting impact Mr Norman would have on those who had known him.
Writing on X (formerly Twitter), he said: “Just heard the news that today we lost a giant and a legend in the restaurant world, Russell Norman, who was and will always be an inspiration for so many.”
He loved restaurants that were like him – that had lots of charm and great character...
Stefan Chomka, editor of Restaurant magazine, said. “He loved restaurants that were like him – that had lots of charm and great character.
“He had a real sense of hospitality, as well as joy, intelligence, generosity and an eye for detail. He had a magpie tendency: he would take inspiration from restaurants in Italy, New York and London and bring them all together.”
Mr Norman was known for spearheading the “small plates” and no reservations movements at his restaurants, most notably the Italian eateries Polpo and Brutto, in London.
His first book, Polpo: a Venetian Cookbook (of Sorts), won Waterstones Book of the Year in 2012.
Four years later, his second book, SPUNTINO - Comfort Food (New York Style) won the 2016 Guild of Food Writers Award for best food and travel book.