MADRID (AP) — Juli Soler, who co-ran the world-acclaimed restaurant El Bulli and discovered top chef Ferran Adria, has died. He was 66.
Soler died on Monday at his home in Rubi, near Barcelona, Adria announced on his official Twitter account. He called it "the saddest news I wish that I have never had to bear."
On arriving at El Bulli in 1981, Soler was an essential figure in what became one of the world's most influential restaurants.
Alongside Adria, who he signed up in 1984, Soler revolutionized diners' experiences to the point that El Bulli maintained the almost unattainable Michelin three-star status for over a decade. It was rated the world's best restaurant five times by British magazine The Restaurant.
Adria said on his Twitter account, "Bulli followers, don't forget none of this would have happened without him."
El Bulli, located in Montjoi cove in northeastern Spain, was closed in 2011 so as to start the Bulli Foundation, a food research center.
No cause of death was given but Soler left the Bulli foundation in 2012 after being diagnosed with a neuro-degenerative disease.
Spanish chefs Adria, Juan Mari Arzak and Carme Ruscalleda were among those attending his funeral Tuesday in Terrassa, northeastern Spain, where he was born.