"He was madly in love with Asia. Like a teenage boy just absolutely lovestruck," a source tells PEOPLE
Before his shocking death, Anthony Bourdain was a man in love.
A friend of the actor, who had spent time with Bourdain recently, tells PEOPLE the chef “was madly in love with Asia” before his death by suicide last week.
“Like a teenage boy just absolutely lovestruck,” the insider tells PEOPLE of Bourdain’s feelings for Argento. “He would have done anything for her, and that was a little red flag for some of his friends.”
The source explains Bourdain’s feelings were all-encompassing, saying, “Like, he was crazy in love with her, crazy being the keyword.”
“That being said, none in our circle of friends knew he was struggling in any life-or-death way. Honestly, I don’t think anyone knew. I don’t think Eric [Ripert] knew the depths of his pain,” continues the source. “The shock of Tony’s death is almost as profound as the pain.”
“Even his closest friends are still waiting for some mystery to be uncovered,” they added. “We knew his nerves were shattered a little; his marriage had fallen apart, he was way, way overworked and overdriven, but unstable… No one had a clue.”
- Want to keep up with the latest from PEOPLE? Sign up for our daily newsletter to get our best stories of the day delivered straight to your inbox.
He and Argento met during the filming of Bourdain’s CNN show Parts Unknown in 2016 and began dating a year later. Argento collaborated with Bourdain on his show, and recently directed an upcoming episode set in Hong Kong.
According to sources, Bourdain’s remains will be transported to the United States for his funeral without delay as soon as his next of kin make their wishes known to authorities. Since their divorce was not finalized, Busia, who is the mother to their daughter Ariane, 11, is still legally his next of kin.
“We are only awaiting the wishes of the family,” Pascal Lohr, Mayor of Kayserberg-Vignobles told PEOPLE. “Everything then will be done as quickly as possible.”
The former couple—who married in 2007—opened up about their split shortly after the news broke in September 2016. “My wife and I live, have lived, very separate lives for years,” Bourdain told PEOPLE at the time. “There’s no drama here. We get along really, really well and it’s not a big lifestyle change happening here.”
Busia also said: “Because of professional decisions we both have made, my husband and I have been for years in an unconventional relationship. Nothing has changed. We love each other. We respect the decisions the other has made. And we’ll always consider ourselves a family.”
Bourdain began dating Argento shortly after the news of his split from Busia, and he recently told PEOPLE although he’d never marry again, he “wouldn’t hate” moving in with the Italian actress.
RELATED VIDEO: Anthony Bourdain’s Ex Says Daughter, 11, Is ‘Brave’ As She Performs at Concert After Chef’s Death
“Look, I like being around her as much as possible,” he said. “She’s like me, in a lot of ways. We’ve both been married twice. So that’s not something that’s ever, ever going to happen.”
He added: “That’s the death of everything. I think we both respect each other’s work. Nobody’s ever going to say, ‘Oh, but you promised we were going to go to the beach.’ No, you know, you get a gig, that’s it. That’s it. Nothing else matters. Work first.”
Following the news of Bourdain’s death, Argento, 42, released a statement on social media.
“Anthony gave all of himself in everything that he did,” she wrote on Twitter. “His brilliant, fearless spirit touched and inspired so many, and his generosity knew no bounds. He was my love, my rock, my protector. I am beyond devastated.”
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.