Gary Rhodes ate a ham sandwich for his final meal as he talked ‘excitedly’ with his wife Jennie about his new ITV show, MailOnline can reveal.
The spiky-haired celeb cook had been in great spirits as he returned to the Dubai apartment he shared with wife Jennie after a ‘perfect’ day filming for the show ‘Delicious Dubai’.
But after a shower and enjoying the simple sandwich with Jennie in the evening, the 59-year-old suddenly collapsed as he got ready for bed with a ‘bleed on the brain’.
The father-of-two died a short time later after being rushed to the nearby Al Zahra Hospital.
Gary Rhodes spent his final hours eating a ham sandwich with his wife Jennie (pictured) as he talked ‘excitedly’ with Jennie about a new ITV show he was filming, MailOnline can reveal.
Rhodes, 59, was pictured with his friend and fellow chef Vineet Bhatia in Dubai just five days ago in what is believed to be the the last photograph taken of him
His friend Jaideep Bhatia today insisted that claims he had slipped and fallen in the shower and banged his head were incorrect.
Speaking to Mail Online, Mr Bhatia said: ‘Gary had a terrific day filming his new TV series in one of the most scenic parts of Dubai and was happy and excited as he sat down for a ham sandwich with Jennie.
The spiky-haired chef, 59, was filming an ITV show in Dubai where he lived since 2007
‘He had showered before dinner – and did not fall while doing so – and enjoyed a relaxed meal with his wife.
‘He was then preparing for bed when he suddenly collapsed.
‘I have been in very close contact with the family at this difficult time and want to end speculation that he fell and hurt himself – he was not injured.
‘The collapse was due to natural causes beyond anyone’s control and he died later in hospital despite efforts to save him.
‘Everyone who knew and loved him is heartbroken. It’s so sad.’
Mr Bhatia, Grosvenor House Hotel PR chief where the couple had an apartment, said his restaurant W1 in the complex was being closed for a week out of respect.
The chef’s family yesterday released a statement in a bid to ‘end painful speculation’ over the cause of death, a day after it was revealed he died ‘very suddenly’ during a break from working on the programme.
Friend and fellow chef Vineet Bhatia, one of the last to see him alive and who was taking part in the ITV series with Rhodes, had claimed the cook had ‘slipped and banged his head’ before being taken to hospital.
Rhodes had been for a shower – where he hadn’t fallen and hit his head as had been reported, according to a friend – before he settled down at the dinner table with Jennie (pictured)
But the family statement said: ‘In order to end painful speculation surrounding the sudden passing of our beloved Gary Rhodes OBE, the Rhodes family can confirm that after a successful day shooting with Rock Oyster Media for ITV here in Dubai, Gary returned home in a very happy mood for a peaceful evening with his wife Jennie.
‘After dinner, Gary unfortunately collapsed in their residence and was rushed to hospital but unfortunately passed away due to subdural haematoma.
‘At this time, there are no other details and the family would again request privacy around this very tragic loss and again, thank friends and family for their ongoing support at this time.’
Mr Bhatia has revealed the Michelin starred chef was fit and healthy and his last words to him were ‘life couldn’t be better’.
The pair were pictured hugging in one of the last photographs taken four days before he died.
Mr Bhatia, who owns restaurants in London’s Chelsea and Dubai, told Mail Online: ‘I have been told by friends in Dubai that he slipped and banged his head and was then taken to hospital.
The father-of-two and his wife lived in an apartment in the Grosvenor House Hotel (pictured)
Rhodes, who was famed for his spiked up gelled hair, ran two restaurants in Dubai, one of which was Twenty 10 at Le Royal Meridien hotel (pictured)
The successful chef also ran the W1 restaurant in Grosvenor House in Dubai (pictured)
‘I wish I could have been there for him. He was such a lovely man. So friendly and enjoying his life.’
Rhodes, famous for his gelled spiky hair and for ‘putting British cuisine on the map’, previously suffered a blood clot on the brain in an accident when he was 19.
He was warned by doctors of the risks of another head injury after he was hit by a van while running for a tram in Amsterdam in 1979.
It was during his first full-time job working at the Hilton and he needed six months to recover after undergoing eight hours of brain surgery.
In the Daily Mail in 2002, the chef said doctors warned him to be ‘very careful’, which led him to give up playing football over fears he could be injured again.
He said: ‘I loved playing football at school…but to me it’s not worth the risk, so I don’t play at all. I probably went back too early because I wasn’t used to the long hours, and for the first three months I got tired very quickly.’
Claims he could have died in a fall first emerged in a post by Jamie Oliver on Instagram. In a now deleted post he said that he had ‘passed away after a tragic fall.’
Oliver later deleted the post, and wrote a tribute without the claim, calling him ‘a fantastic chef and incredible ambassador for British cooking.’
Tributes have flooded in for the chef – who celebrated his 30th wedding anniversary this year and got his first Michelin star when he was 26 – as he was hailed a ‘gent and genius’ and ‘the first rock star of cooking.’
The chef was a dedicated father to his two sons Sam and George (pictured), who also lived in Dubai where Rhodes had spent the last 12 years of his life running two restaurants
His son George posted a series of pictures of the family on his Instagram, with the words: ‘My dad was the most loving caring man who himself and others around him to be the best they could possibly be.
‘I miss you so much already. Love you dad.’
His brother Chris yesterday said he had ‘not only lost a brother but a best friend too’ adding: ‘Gary you will always be by my side in my thoughts but most of all in my heart.
‘The times I have spent with you have been some of the most special in my life. Rest in Peace beloved man – love you always.’
‘Gary was a fantastic chef and incredible ambassador for British cooking, he was a massive inspiration to me as a young chef.
‘He reimagined modern British cuisine with elegance and fun. rest in peace Chef.’