ITV Im A Celebs Fred Sirieixs tribute to friend who died while he was in the jungle

Fred Sirieix has shared his heartbreak over finding out one of his friends died while he was taking part in I'm A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here!.

The First Dates star was one of the campmates in ITV's Australian-set reality contest this year, but since arriving back home to the UK he had learned that one of his friends passed away just a week after he entered the jungle.

Russell Norman was a TV chef and restauranteur, best known for his restaurants Polpo and Trattoria Brutto in London, who passed away suddenly aged 57 on 24 November.

Fred paid tribute to Russell on X, writing: "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. My thoughts go to his family. RIP Russell x."

Russell, a father of three, is thought to have died of a cardiac arrest weeks after his fourth cookbook, Brutto, was published.

He had appeared on TV shows including Saturday Kitchen and was dubbed the 'King of Soho dining', having made small plates of Italian food similar to Spanish tapas popular and reviving the Negroni cocktail.

Announcing his death, Polpo co-founder Richard Beatty said in a statement: "It is with great sadness that I announce the loss of my best friend Russell Norman. After a short battle in hospital, he died surrounded by family and friends."

Many big names from the food industry offered their condolences as restaurant critic Jay Rayner wrote: "So sorry to hear of the death, far too young, of Russell Norman. He was one of the most gifted of restauranteurs, a terrific writer and an awful lot of fun to be around. He very much lived life his own way. My thoughts are with his family and friends."

James Martin added: "Just heard the news that today we lost a giant and a legend in the restaurant world, Russell Norman, who was and always be an inspiration for so many. My thoughts go to his friends and family. RIP, such sad news."

Jason Atherton commented: "The London restaurant scene lost one of its most loved and successful restauranteurs. Russell was an inspiration to all of us and made dining out cool. He was a great person to be around and was always optimistic and full of life. Our loves goes to his family and his team at Brutto, a magnificent restaurant. Rest in peace and God bless."

Fred left the jungle camp third on 5 December, but contestants in the show generally stick around in Australia afterwards to welcome co-stars out of the show and celebrate the final.

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