'Top Chef' Alum Howie Kleinberg Dead At 46

Taylor Sakellis
Howard "Howie" Kleinberg on the red carpet in 2010
Getty Images | Gustavo Caballero

Fans of the hit Bravo competition show Top Chef are mourning the loss of season 3 contestant Howard "Howie" Kleinberg. Known best for his passionate exchange with Anthony Bourdain during his time on the popular show, Howie soon became a fan favorite.

The passionate chef died at age 46, as per ET.

Howie's mother Susan confirmed to the "Miami Herald" that the chef had died of a heart attack on July 22.

"I am just finding out how many lives he touched," she said in a statement. "He was married to his passion in life, which was his cooking."

The Florida-born chef owned and ran the beloved Bulldog Barbecue in North Miami for 10 years.

“He was married to his passion in life, which was his cooking," his mother added. According to his obituary, Howie was "Inspired by his love of barbecue and summers spent in North Carolina, he opened his own restaurant, Bulldog BBQ. He later went on to pursue more fine dining options."

"Participating annually in the South Beach Wine and Food Festival was a great source of pride for him," the obit continued.

"Howie is survived by his mother, Susan Kleinberg Ratner and stepfather, Ken Ratner. His sister, Amy (William) Wildstein and their three children Whitney, Lindsey, and Phillip and his beloved dog Skye."

Bravo released a statement in memory of the former "Top Chef" contestant.

"The #TopChef family is saddened to learn about the unexpected passing of Howard Kleinberg from season three," the statement began. "Howie’s passion for cooking filled so many and our deepest sympathy goes out to his family and friends"