‘MasterChef Australia’ Host Jock Zonfrillo Dies One Day Before Series Premiere

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Kay Smythe News and Commentary Writer
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“MasterChef Australia” host Jock Zonfrillo died Sunday at the age of 46.

The award-winning Scottish chef died suddenly in the city of Melbourne, according to Deadline. His family confirmed Zonfrillo’s passing in a statement shared by the outlet. “With completely shattered hearts and without knowing how we can possibly move through life without him, we are devastated to share that Jock passed away yesterday,” they said.

“So many words can describe him, so many stories can be told, but at this time we’re too overwhelmed to put them into words. For those who crossed his path, became his mate, or were lucky enough to be in his family, keep this proud Scot in your hearts when you next have a whisky,” the statement continued.

The new season of the cooking show series was due to air in the first week of May, but has been postponed, Deadline noted, citing a statement from Network 10 and Endemol Shine Australia. Fellow British chef Jamie Oliver was set to join the  show as a guest judge, CNN reported, but it is unclear when the series will return to Australia’s screens.

Zonfrillo joined the franchise show as a judge in 2019, helping it maintain its position at the top of Australia’s television ratings. He started his culinary career as a teen, becoming an apprentice in kitchens at the age of 15, Deadline continued. (RELATED: Jerry Springer Dead At 79)

His career has seen many ups and downs, mainly due to financial strife. He was forced to put both of his restaurants, Orana and Bistro Blackwood, into administration over unpaid debts reaching into the millions, according to the BBC. He also declared bankruptcy in 2002 after he was sued by an apprentice chef that he deliberately set on fire.

He is survived by his wife and four children. RIP.