Comedian Cal Wilson dies after 'short illness'

Comedian Cal Wilson has died, aged 53, after a "short illness", her agency said on Wednesday. 

Wilson's artist management agency said she died on Wednesday "surrounded by family and friends".

"We are devastated to share the news that Cal Wilson, the much-loved stand up comedian, writer and actor died today, surrounded by family and friends after a short illness at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney. She was 53 years old," her agency said.   

"Cal's generosity, talent and friendship have been constants in the Australian comedy scene for the last twenty years. Cal was loved by her family, friends, fans and peers and a huge hole has been torn in the heart of our community."  

After the news was announced on social media, Kiwi comedians rushed to pay tribute to Wilson.

"Unbelievable. She was beautiful in every way. an amazing talent, such a quick brain and so much style and taste. This hurts hard. Sending big love to Chris, Digby and family," Rhys Darby wrote on the  Instagram post.

Urzila Carlson said the news was "terrible" in a message paying tribute to the "amazing" Wilson.

"My heart is broken for her family and for everyone that has ever met her because she was amazing. today is a terrible day," she wrote.

Melanie Bracewell commented: "A ray of sunshine. You will be so missed, Cal."

Pitch Perfect actress Rebel Wilson also paid tribute, saying she was "amazingly talented and kind."

"This is so tragic and my heart goes out to Cal's family. I was very very lucky to work with Cal on multiple projects especially over the last few years where she wrote brilliant material for me. She was amazingly talented and amazingly kind."

Great Australian Bake Off judge Darren Purchase paid tribute on Instagram to his co-star saying she had a "huge social conscience".

"Cal absolutely loved her work as a comedian, writer, broadcaster, host and performer and could do anything, she was the most professional person I have worked with. She made life on set a breeze and it was a huge honour and privilege to stand by her side and watch her work.

"I learned so much from Cal, we shared a car from work very night and we would have long chats about everything. I would pick her brains about learning lines, writing, performing, movies, TV, music and the world in general. I would tell Cal about the food world and she was always interested in that and I would also run my crummy puns past her to see if they were any good or not. I would try to convince her that Brussels Sprouts were delicious but she would have none of it.

"Cal was a light and such a joyful good person, funny and the kindest. She always looked out for everyone and had a huge social conscience. She championed for inequalities, stood up to bullies and always did the right thing. She cared for everyone and was the best person you could ever meet."

The comedian was originally from Christchurch but moved to Australia in in 2003. She became a mainstay on Australian TV. 

Wilson became known to Australian TV viewers from appearances on shows like Spicks and Specks, Would I Lie To You and Good News Week.

Her agency Token Artists said Wilson had appeared at the Melbourne Comedy Festival 14 times through her career and had been a member of the comedy festival's board.

It also said she had been co-hosting The Great Australian Bake Off which had been in production when Wilson was first admitted to hospital.