Celebrities

Gary Rhodes seen in poignant footage taken just hours before he collapsed

Gazing into the sunset, celebrity chef Gary Rhodes relaxes on a massive sand dune in the Dubai desert after a fun-filled day’s filming.

Just hours later the star collapsed at home before being rushed to hospital where he died two days later.

The footage of Gary looking reflective as the sun sets was to be included in his new ITV daytime cookery show.

But after his death aged 59 in Nov­­ember, the footage is being used in a new ITV documentary airing tomorrow – Gary Rhodes: The First Rock Star Chef – which will celebrate his life.

Fellow chef Ainsley Harriott says in the film’s voiceover: “As the sun set on what would have been his final day of filming, Gary felt on top of the world.


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“Later that evening at home with [wife] Jennie, Gary collapsed and was rushed to hospital suffering from a subdural haematoma.

“Two days later, and with his family at his bedside, he died.”

Filming earlier, Gary is seen excitedly talking to the camera about riding a jeep on the dunes, which is known as dune bashing. Gary tells viewers: “I have lived in Dubai for almost a decade but there is one thing I haven’t done – a desert safari.”

Laughing and cheering as he rides on the dunes, he says afterwards: “Wow, I feel privileged to have had the experience and to actually be here.”

After filming, he returned to his flat
in Dubai’s luxury Grosvenor House hotel, where his restaurant – Rhodes W1 – is situated.

After showering and eating a snack with Jennie, Gary suffered a bleed on the brain and died in hospital.

The timing of his death was particularly poignant as he had been excitedly planning for the future and was “buzzing” about his return to British TV.

His son Sam says in the documentary: “It was really big for him. He said to me: ‘I can’t believe I’m going to be back on TV, son, it’s really strange.’

“After all this time, people still wanted to know what he was up to.

“It was a real honour for me to be part of the crew and work on a new project for him. It was really quite magical to see. It was an absolute honour to work with Dad on that.”

The documentary also features a rare interview with Sir Alex Ferguson, the former manager of Gary’s team Manchester United.

Sir Alex says: “We go back more than 20 years ago when he was a chef at the Greenhouse restaurant.

“My PA said there was a great chef who was a Man United fan who would love to meet you. He was a great chef, it was fantastic and that was my first time. We kept a friendship going for years after that.”

Sons Sam and George said that their dad’s love of the team was up there with his love of cooking.

Sam says: “When he was quite young his family moved up to Manchester
and it was there, when he was five
years old, that he found his love for Manchester United.”

George added: “It was Manchester United or nothing for Dad which meant it was Man Utd or nothing for us as well.”

Reflecting on their father, the boys said that “nothing ever quite lives up to Dad’s bread and butter pudding”.

And they said it was telling that no one had a bad word to say about their dad, famed for his spiky haircut and being a host on MasterChef.

Sam says: “It just speaks volumes that no one had anything bad to say about him.

“It speaks volumes and if there is any indication of the kind of man he was, that says it all.”

George added: “He was an amazing father.”

  • Gary Rhodes: The First Rock Star Chef, tomorrow at 11.40am on ITV1.

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