Michael Chiarello, a celebrity chef, died this weekend ... and it was apparently sudden.
The former "Food Network" star passed away Saturday while being treated at the Queen of the Valley Medical Center in Napa, CA -- and, as it turns out, his hospitalization is the result of a fatal allergy attack ... this according to his own company.
Gruppo Chiarello announced Sunday what led up to their founder's death, saying an acute allergic reaction resulted in anaphylactic shock. They also say he was surrounded by friends and family in his final moments. It's unclear if the allergic reaction was food-related.
The team adds, "We deeply mourn the loss of our beloved patriarch Michael," the Chiarello family said in a statement. "His culinary brilliance, boundless creativity, and unwavering commitment to family were at the core of his being. He brought people together through the joy of shared meals, fostering lasting memories around the table."
Gruppo Chiarello finishes by saying, "As we navigate this profound loss, we hold dear the moments we cherished with him, both in his kitchens and in our hearts. His legacy will forever live on in the love he poured into every dish and the passion he instilled in all of us to savor life's flavors."
The star chef had a long run on TV, with his show "Easy Entertaining With Michael Chiarello" airing for 10 seasons on FN. He was also featured on hit series like "Top Chef," "Chopped," "The Next Iron Chef" and others ... not to mention appearances on other talk shows.
He's survived by his wife, Eileen, and his four children. Michael was 61.