Food Network star and celebrity chef Carl Ruiz has died ... according to his closest friends in the biz.
Carl reportedly passed away Saturday night of a suspected heart attack, so says his pal and social media personality, Matt Farah. Matt also said Carl died peacefully in his sleep.
Guy Fieri also commented on Carl's death, writing on Twitter ... "I’m heartbroken that my friend chef Carl Ruiz is gone. I have no words to describe what a great friend he was to me and my family. His ability to make me laugh and smile under any circumstances was only outshined by his talent as a chef."
I’m heartbroken that my friend chef Carl Ruiz is gone. I have no words to describe what a great friend he was to me and my family. His ability to make me laugh and smile under any circumstances was only outshined by his talent as a chef. pic.twitter.com/einY8qp7wf
He added, "Over the years, I’ve met a lot of great people but a friend like Carl is one in a hundred million. Carl 'The Cuban' Ruiz will forever live on in my heart and in those of all who loved him."
CR had teamed up with Guy quite a bit over the years, having made appearances on three of his shows -- "Guy's Grocery Games," "Guy's Ranch Kitchen" and "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" -- for several episodes and even serving as a judge on some.
He was also close with a ton of other FN fixtures, including different Iron Chefs who competed on the popular program. Food Network regulars Jet Tila and Ben Ford also commented on Ruiz's passing, sending their condolences online with some kind words.
Carl -- who was Cuban-American -- was known as an expert in Spanish cuisine. He opened his restaurant, La Cubana, in NYC just earlier this year in June. According to his restaurant's website, he's helped open countless restaurants over the course of his 25-plus years in the food game ... and made several appearances on TV as well.