Carl Ruiz, a New Jersey chef who has appeared on Food Network on multiple occasions, reportedly passed away suddenly Sunday morning. He was just 44.

Ruiz owned the popular La Cubana restaurant in New York City. His former spot, Marie’s Italian Specialties in Chatham Township, caught the attention of Guy Fieri, who filmed an episode of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives there.

Ruiz also competed on and won the Food Network game show Guy's Grocery Games. He also had a fun YouTube food review channel called Omg Carl's Food Show that I watched occasionally.

No cause of death has been officially reported, but friends believe he may have had a heart attack, according to

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


More From SoJO 104.9 FM