The head chef at Rules restaurant in London has died from head injuries received from falling down stairs leading to the restaurant's kitchen.
Rory Kennedy, 37, was best known in the industry for his work at Whitbread's Hanbury Manor Hotel in Hertfordshire, where he was head chef from the pre-opening of the hotel in May 1990 to September 1996, when he joined Rules.
Rules owner John Mayhew said the accident happened a week ago last Thursday at 7.30pm, when Mr Kennedy returned to the restaurant after an afternoon off: "He was not working. No one is sure why he came back. Something must have happened at the top of the stairs and he fell, and nothing broke his fall."
Staff were shocked by what had happened, he added: "He was a lovely man, just the most rounded, complete individual you could ever meet. He had a way of attracting youngsters to him like a father figure."
Rules general manager Ricky McMenemy said: "Our heartfelt condolences and thoughts are with his wife Pauline and his three children, and his mother and family.
"Rules has lost a great head chef as well as a friend to all the members of staff, and this human tragedy is one that we are all grieving," he said.
Hanbury Manor's human resources manager Alison Hitcham, who worked with Mr Kennedy for more than two years, said the hotel had received numerous calls from colleagues looking for details of the funeral. "He was very well liked and respected. Within the hotel, there is a feeling of disbelief," she said.
Mr Kennedy's funeral took place in Hertfordshire on Tuesday. An inquest will be held.