“People are walking around here looking like zombies,” Jones tells PEOPLE, adding: “This is a tough business. We deal with bad news all the time but when it hits this close to home. People are hugging each other people are just glazed.”
The host of CNN’s Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown was found dead of an apparent suicide at 61 on Friday in his hotel room by close friend and French chef Eric Ripert. Both were filming an episode of Bourdain’s award-winning show.
“I don’t think anyone saw this coming,” Jones says. “He was always top notch and charming but the standard that he set for everyone, I mean he had the most popular show by far and he lifted us all up on his shoulders. The idea that he couldn’t bear what he was going through is just devastating.”
When Bourdain joined the network in 2013, Jones says the chef and TV host was immediately liked and well respected by all.
“This is the kind of business where at his level, people are notoriously terrible to people,” says Jones. “And Anthony never was. If he had any doubt about how much he meant to us at CNN I wish he could see a whole building just shook. A whole building of hard-nosed journalist who cover floods, fires, assassinations and everything else just stunned into silence.”
CNN confirmed Bourdain’s death to PEOPLE on Friday morning. “It is with extraordinary sadness we can confirm the death of our friend and colleague, Anthony Bourdain,” the network said in a statement. “His love of great adventure, new friends, fine food and drink and the remarkable stories of the world made him a unique storyteller. His talents never ceased to amaze us and we will miss him very much. Our thoughts and prayers are with his daughter and family at this incredibly difficult time.”
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text “help” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.