Fred Sirieix pays tribute after discovering heartbreaking death of pal hours after UK return

Fred Sirieix pays tribute after discovering heartbreaking death of pal hours after UK return

WATCH NOW: Fred Sirieix's I'm A Celebrity exit interview

Alex Davies

By Alex Davies

Published: 14/12/2023

- 08:51

The First Dates and I'm A Celebrity star was in Australia when the heartbreaking news broke

Fred Sirieix has taken to social media to pay tribute to author and restaurateur Russell Norman after learning of his death upon his return to the UK.

Norman died aged 57 of a short illness back on November 23 while Sirieix was Down Under in the jungle.

Sirieix branded Norman a "lovely man" after he'd spent a successful career in the culinary world much like himself.

The I'm A Celebrity star shared his thoughts on X, formerly Twitter, just hours after he'd confirmed he'd landed back in the UK.

The maître d'hôtel penned to his 253.4k followers: "I have just found out about the sudden passing of Russell Norman. This is so sad.

"Such a lovely man and a restaurant genius like no other. He made it look easy and so cool to open and run a restaurant.

\u200bSiriex and his wife Monique Salum upon his exit

Sirieix and his wife Fruitcake after his I'm A Celeb exit


"My thoughts go to his family. RIP Russell x," Sirieix signed off.

Sirieix was joined by a number of other high-profile figures from the restaurant world who paid their respects to the late restaurateur.

Tom Parker Bowles branded Norman's death a “particular shock” as he remembered, via the Guardian: "He was highly intelligent, very beautiful and just a really good man.

"I have so many memories of sitting with him and our friends in tiny Venetian bars, drinking Aperol spritz and talking to the people who owned the bar after all having had a good lunch. He was a great friend to so many people."

Russell Norman died

Russell Norman died while Sirieix was in the jungle


Parker Bowles added: "He had a passion and he could talk to you about it, write about it, do it and make it: he was a chef, a restaurateur.

"There was no pretence there. No artifice. He was a proper person."

Norman is survived by his partner Dr Genevieve Verdigel and three children.

The news would have been a heartbreaking blow to Sirieix who'd been spending the past month or so in the I'm A Celeb jungle cut off from the rest of the world.

The First Dates star missed out on the King of the Jungle crown after being the third celebrity voted out by the public.

His time in the jungle wasn't short of controversy as he clashed with the likes of Nella Rose, Nigel Farage, Josie Gibson and Sam Thompson.

He and Farage were embroiled in a number of rows over Brexit while he and Gibson locked horns over the cooking several times.

In the end, it was Thompson who returned to the UK as King of the Jungle.

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