MasterChef Australia judge Jock Zonfrillo dies

MasterChef Australia judge Jock Zonfrillo has died, aged 46.
MasterChef Australia judge Jock Zonfrillo has died, aged 46. Photo credit: Getty Images

MasterChef Australia judge Jock Zonfrillo has died suddenly at the age of 46 in Melbourne.

A statement from the Zonfrillo family was released on his official Instagram account confirming the news.

Zonfrillo's death has been announced on the same day MasterChef Australia was set to premiere its 2023 season, however it's been announced the show will not be broadcast this week.

In their statement the family revealed the Glasgow-born chef had died on Sunday, but no further details were revealed.

"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," the family statement 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 his family, keep this proud Scot in your hearts when you have your next whisky.

"We implore you to please let us grieve privately as we find a way to navigate through this and find space on the other side to celebrate our irreplaceable husband, father, brother, son and friend."

Zonfrillo was brought in as a judge in 2019 after previous judges Matt Preston, George Calombaris and Gary Mehigan left the show.

Celebrity English chef Jamie Oliver posted a photo on Instagram on Monday of he and Zonfrillio together.

In the caption of the image, which appears to have been taken by Zonfrillo himself, Oliver wrote: "Just hanging out with my new buds @zonfrillo, @andyallencooks and @fooderati on the set of @masterchefau! So excited for you all to see the first episode of MasterChef Australia!"

Jamie Oliver Instagram about Jock Zonfrillo.
Photo credit: Instagram/Jamie Oliver

The official MasterChef Australia Facebook page paid tribute to Zonfrillo in a post describing him as "determined and talented and with plenty of grit".

"Jock was known to Australians as a chef, best-selling author, philanthropist and MasterChef judge but he will be best remembered as a loving father, husband, brother and son," the post said.

"Network 10 and Endemol Shine Australia are deeply shocked and saddened at the sudden loss of Jock Zonfrillo, a beloved member of the MasterChef Australia family."

It is not currently known when the series will premiere following its postponement.