Jock Zonfrillo’s wife, Lauren, made the frantic phone call to police, leading them to find the MasterChef judge dead in a Melbourne hotel room.
Lauren called the police from Rome early Monday morning after becoming concerned when her husband was not following their usual daily schedule of calls.
Well-placed sources have told Daily Mail Australia that when Zonfrillo went unanswered several calls from his wife, she called the police to conduct a welfare check.
Officers who visited Zagame’s House in Carlton around 2 a.m. found Zonfrillo dead in his bed and saw no signs of anything suspicious or unusual.
No drug paraphernalia had been found, no one else in the hotel room, and police believed the father of four had died of natural causes.
Zonfrillo’s body has now been released to his family and the exact cause of death will be determined by the coroner.
Lauren and the two children she shares with Zonfrillo are said to have arrived in Australia from Italy on Tuesday night.
Jock Zonfrillo’s wife Lauren (pictured) made the frantic phone call to police, leading them to find the MasterChef judge dead in a Melbourne hotel room
MasterChef co-host Andy Allen (pictured) and his wife Alex Davey stepped out of a limousine outside their home in Carlton on Thursday afternoon. They seemed sad and holding hands as they walked in
MasterChef co-host Andy Allen and his wife Alex Davey were seen getting out of a limousine at their home in Carlton on Thursday afternoon. They seemed sad and held hands as they walked in.
It is understood that Allen met with Channel Ten executives on Thursday morning, along with third MasterChef judge Melissa Leong, to discuss how publicity would be handled for the programme.
On returning home, Ms Davey confirmed to Daily Mail Australia that her husband had lost a ‘best friend’.
Zonfrillo, who recently moved to Rome with his family, left his wife and two young children Alfie and Isla in Italy to return for the launch of MasterChef’s 15th season.
Network Ten announced that the series, which was set to begin Monday, would now premiere Sunday with the full support of Zonfrillo’s grieving family.
Daily Mail Australia previously revealed that the 46-year-old was diagnosed with bowel cancer around May 2021, following a previous bout with the disease.
It is not suggested that the cancer killed Zonfrillo, only that he had told friends that the recurrence was discovered after a routine colonoscopy.
A source said Zonfrillo hid his health problems from most friends and colleagues, who usually received treatment, including chemotherapy, when the popular cooking show was not taped.
Ms Zonfrillo called police from Rome early Monday morning after becoming concerned when her husband failed to keep to their usual daily schedule of phone calls
Zonfrillo’s body was discovered by police in a Zagame’s House hotel room in Melbourne in the early hours of Monday morning (stock of Zagame’s House room pictured)
A close friend and former neighbor of Zonfrillo told Daily Mail Australia that the chef would sometimes open up to him about his ‘demons’ over a glass of whisky.
Stuart Ayer said he and his wife had developed a close relationship with the TV star’s family over the three years they were neighbors in Carlton.
Speaking of Zonfrillo’s relationship with his wife, Mr Ayer said ‘they were a really close couple’.
“The kids were the light of his life,” he said. “They’re wonderful kids and it’s such a tragedy.”
Mr Ayer gushed about the Zonfrillo family, saying they were “great people” and good neighbours.
The Zonfrillos left their two-story, $3,000-a-week rental and moved to Italy a few weeks ago.
Zonfrillo was getting used to Italian life when he had to return to Melbourne from Monday morning to do promotional work for MasterChef.
The Zonfrillos had just moved out of a two-story, $3,000 a week, Melbourne mansion to emigrate to Italy, which was just meters from the hotel in which the MasterChef star was found
The Zonfrillo’s neighbour, Stuart Ayer, told Daily Mail Australia the chef would talk about his ‘demons’ over a glass of whiskey
He was also in the early stages of planning a new restaurant and had begun work on a cookbook prior to his shock death.
Zonfrillo’s wife and children expected him to rejoin them once his promotional work for MasterChef was over.
Daily Mail Australia has been told Zonfrillo was being treated for bowel cancer from at least June 2021, a month after being discovered on a colonoscopy.
A source said at the time: “No one in his circle knows what he is going through. Neither colleagues nor friends.’
“He doesn’t want anyone to know as he goes through this arduous journey. He doesn’t deal well with chemotherapy and its effects.’
In the months that followed, Zonfrillo was an outpatient at Kinghorn Cancer Center in Sydney and Epworth Oncology in Melbourne, as well as seeking treatment in Queensland, the source said.
Zonfrillo underwent chemotherapy while filming the second series of Celebrity MasterChef in 2021.
Daily Mail Australia, which has seen evidence of Zonfrillo discussing the diagnosis with a close friend, contacted the chef and his relatives in August 2021 but received no response.
Z Daily Mail Australia understands Zonfrillo was being treated for bowel cancer from at least June 2021
It is understood that Allen met with Channel Ten executives on Thursday morning, along with third MasterChef judge Melissa Leong (pictured alongside Zonfrillo and Jamie Oliver), to discuss how publicity would be handled for the programme.
Zonfrillo had previously been treated for colon cancer with chemotherapy and radiation and went into remission. The cancer then returned more aggressively.
In his 2021 memoir Last Shot, he did not mention suffering from cancer.
In August of that year, a source said Zonfrillo had told few people about the diagnosis.
“I was told the reason he didn’t disclose his medical condition was because he didn’t want people to feel sorry for him or treat him differently,” the source said at the time.
“Since his diagnosis he has lost weight because the chemo causes nausea and excessive vomiting and he can’t keep food down for too long.”
Last September, Zonfrillo, who has two older daughters, Ava and Sophia, underwent cancer treatment while sailing in Italy.
The source said Zonfrillo had avoided the hospital and was instead attended by a doctor flown in to treat him.
“He claimed that every time he had medical treatment, a barrage of nurses would come into his room, and he didn’t mean to be rude by asking to be left alone,” the source said.
“He said he preferred to be sick and feel away from the discomfort of prying eyes.”
Zonfrillo wrote in Last Shot about his years of heroin addiction as a young man in Glasgow.