Jock Zonfrillo: Gordon Ramsay breaks down during tribute to MasterChef Australia judge

Gordon Ramsay's paid a tearful tribute to Jock Zonfrillo
Gordon Ramsay's paid a tearful tribute to Jock Zonfrillo. Photo credit: Getty Images

Renowned hard-as-nails chef Gordon Ramsay has fallen apart during a TV tribute show to former MasterChef Australia judge Jock Zonfrillo who died last Sunday, aged 46.

Ramsay was seen holding his head in his hands in the show which aired on Australian TV on Sunday night.

Zonfrillo died suddenly at the age of 46 in Melbourne with a statement from his family on his official Instagram account confirming the news.

Ramsay burst into tears as he paid tribute to the chef who "lit up the kitchen" and he revealed the profound effect his death has had on the cooking world. 

"The ripples have been devastating," Ramsay said.

"No one's gonna get over this quickly. If there's one thing that we've done as chefs is we've united and we're talking about the good times. So...' he said, pausing as he fought to hold back the tears. 

"Shit. Sorry. It's just so painful. That's all," he said.

Ramsay was not only the chef to pay tribute to Zonfrillo, with the likes of Jamie Oliver and Nigella Lawson speaking of their love for the former Scottish chef.

Marco Pierre White said Zonfrillo had qualities "very few chefs possess".

"Jock Zonfrillo will never die. He will live on through everyone he touched," the British chef said.

"He lives within us, and everybody who watches that show, a little piece of him will be still in there. That's the truth."

Jamie Oliver, who appeared on the first episode of the new season of MasterChef Australia also took part, saying: "Jock's superpower I think was his curiosity. He was super curious and fascinated in people, food, travel. He did what he did by doing. Like seeing is believing, actions speak louder than words. That's kind of Jock, right?"

Nigella Lawson said she felt for his children.

"My heart breaks, as I'm sure everyone's does, for Jock's children. And his family and everyone who loved him of course."

No official cause of death has been yet revealed for Zonfrillo, who had left his family holidaying in Italy to return to Australia to promote the new series of the show, which was delayed a week.

Earlier reports suggested Zonfrillo had been secretly battling bowel cancer and had died from natural causes, but as yet, there's been no family statement on his cause of death.