McDowell County Family Receives Gift from Anthony Bourdain Day Before His Death

MCDOWELL COUNTY– Last week the McKinney family received an unexpected gift from a new friend.

Less than 24 hours later they would learn that that friend had committed suicide.

Anthony Bourdain traveled to McDowell county to cook a meal with Linda McKinney.

“The next day following the meal that he had with us, he went underground to the coal mines and they wanted an authentic lunchbox,” Linda said. “My husband was a miner for 32 years and 2he is now employed by the State Mine Department so he is still involved with mining and my husband let him borrow his lunch box. I guess in all the excitement, Anthony left it underground and Bob never got his lunchbox back.”

That was until a package arrived at their home just last week.

Linda said, “I took it to my husband and I said ‘I think this might be for you.’ He opened it up and we saw the autograph. So, he returned his lunch kit and then the next morning we started getting the news that Anthony had passed away.”

Linda says learning the news was devastating because although her time with Anthony was short, they grew close.

“Most of all we talked about his child. He had a child late in life, I think she is 11 or 12 now. We talked about how much happiness she had brought to him and how she was learning to cook. He told me, he said ‘she changed my life totally, he gave me something to live for.'”

Linda says Anthony will always be remembered fondly by her family.

“We may never know why he came into our life so quickly but he touch us. He made an impression on us, he made a heart impression as I like to say. He was just a guy at my table that I was feeding.”

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Tyler Barker is currently the News Director and Digital Content Manager for WOAY-TV. He was promoted to this job in Mid-November. He still will fill in on weather from time to time. You can follow Tyler on Facebook and Twitter @wxtylerb. Have any news tips or weather questions? Email him at