Jock Zonfrillo died of natural causes and nothing unusual or suspicious was discovered in the hotel room where he was found dead, Daily Mail Australia understands.
The MasterChef star, 46, was found killed by police at Zagame’s House hotel in Melbourne at about 2 a.m. Monday, just yards from his former downtown home in Carlton.
The Glasgow-born chef had left his family in Italy, where they had recently emigrated, to return to Australia for the launch of the new season of the popular cooking show.
Daily Mail Australia can reveal that when police entered the hotel room to conduct a welfare check, officers believed Zonfrillo had died of natural causes and found nothing unusual or suspicious.
It is now up to the coroner to determine the specific cause of death.
Daily Mail Australia understands that when police entered the hotel room they believed Jock Zonfrillo (pictured) had died of natural causes and found nothing unusual or suspicious
Pictured: Jock Zonfrillo with his wife Lauren and their two children, Alfie, six, and Ava, two
On Tuesday, Daily Mail Australia revealed that Zonfrillo had been secretly battling colon cancer for years.
A source said he hid his health problems from most of his friends and colleagues, who were usually treated when the Network Ten cooking show was not filming.
It is not implied that Zonfrillo died of cancer, only that he had told very close friends that he was suffering from the disease.
A close friend and neighbor of Zonfrillo has since revealed that the celebrity chef would sometimes open up to him about his “demons” over a glass of whiskey.
Stuart Ayer told Daily Mail Australia that he and his wife had grown close to the TV star’s family over the three years they were neighbours.
“I was a bit confused when I heard he had passed away, and I still am,” Mr Ayer said.
“We used to sit and talk about our demons – he was open about his demons in his book, but I have my own demons and we chatted about it over a whiskey.
“I found it very helpful – he was a great guy.”
Zonfrillo’s neighbor Stuart Ayer said he and the chief talked about whiskey about their ‘demons’
The Zonfrillos lived in a two-story rental house in Carlton until a few weeks ago, when they packed up and moved to Italy.
The Glasgow-born chef (pictured with his wife Lauren) had left his family in Italy, where they had recently emigrated, to return to Australia for the launch of the popular cooking show’s new season
In his 2021 memoir, Last Shot, Zonfrillo talked about his battle with heroin addiction, his rise to the top of the culinary world, and his relationship struggles.
In the book, he spoke candidly about how he started working for celebrated British chef Marco Pierre White at the age of 17, when he was homeless and addicted to heroin.
When his boss realized he was sleeping in the restaurant, he found him a place to stay and loaned him money.
Zonfrillo moved to Australia in 1996 at the age of 20 and got a job at Forty One in Sydney’s central business district – using cocaine, pills, LSD and cannabis, but hiding a raging heroin addiction from everyone.
He went back to the UK when his visa expired in 1997. Two years later, he took his last shot of heroin in the toilets at Heathrow Airport before returning to Down Under, and used the experience as inspiration for his book title.
When he arrived in Sydney, he stayed at the home of his then-girlfriend Kelly’s parents while going cold turkey, a process he describes as “gruesome.”
“For ten days I was throwing up and screaming and pooping all over the place before the fever finally broke,” he wrote.
The MasterChef star, 46, was found dead by police at Melbourne’s Zagame’s House hotel at about 2am on Monday (pictured)
The hotel is located just meters from his former downtown home in Carlton
“I’ve always said, ‘If I hadn’t had food, I would have died.'”
Speaking to Daily Mail Australia on Wednesday, Mr Ayer said they kept each other company during Melbourne’s extended Covid lockdowns, and would stick their heads over the fence to ask how the other was doing.
Then after the lockdown, Jock said, “I made some dinner, do you want to come over?” and then we’d eat or something.’
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.
MasterChef presents Andy Allen, Melissa Leong and Zonfrillo at the 2022 AACTA Awards
A source told the Daily Mail Australia that the chief wanted to ‘live in Italy for a while’, but his wife was hesitant.
“It was something he was up to, but then she changed her mind,” the source said.
“She wanted change.”
Zonfrillo was just getting used to their new life when he had to return to Melbourne to do promotional work for the new season of MasterChef, which was to air Monday night.
His wife and children remained in Rome and expected Zonfrillo to rejoin them once his work for Channel 10 was completed this week.
The family is said to have returned to Melbourne on Tuesday evening.