MasterChef's Andy Allen has paid tribute to his good friend and co-host Jock Zonfrillo after the TV star's shock passing early on Monday morning - the same day season 15 of the show was supposed to premiere.
Andy's emotional tribute read: "When I met you 5 years ago I knew our lives were about to change forever. What I didn't realise is how close Alex [Davey] and I would become outside of the kitchen with you, Lauren and your kids.
"You've become such an inspirational and important part of our lives. Sure, you've taught me so much about food, but it's the lessons I learnt about what it means to be a great father, husband and friend that I'll take away from our time together and will last forever."
He continued: "I'll miss the way you mentored me and every contestant that walked into the MasterChef kitchen, I'll miss you ordering the entire menu no matter how many dishes deep and making me eat every last bite, I'll miss your morning on-set coffees that made me shake from the amount of caffeine you were able to extract out of every individual bean, I'll miss the morning FaceTimes with Loz, Alfie and Isla, but overall I'll miss you looking out for me every single day. Thanks for making me constantly laugh and being there when I needed to cry."
Andy finished by saying: "You really were the complete package mate and life will never be the same without you. I know you’ll be looking down on Loz, Ava, Sophia, Alfie & Isla. Give it up for Jock Zonfrillo."
Comments from Andy's friends and followers quickly poured in, with The Bachelorette's Georgia Love writing, "I’m so sorry Andy. Thinking of you."
"The last line got me," MasterChef contestant Minoli De Silva added.
"Beautiful words brother for a beautiful man. Love you," Dylan Alcott wrote.
Channel 10's entertainment editor Angela Bishop shared on The Project last night that Andy and Melissa Leong were "devastated" by the shocking news their co-host had died.
"They would work, 14, 15, 16-hour days together for weeks on end to do each season of MasterChef, you couldn’t find closer workmates and confidants than Andy, Jock and Mel," she said.
"They are devastated, broken is the word that was used to me. They’re simply like so many of us trying to process this news."
Jock flew home from a family holiday in Italy in preparation for the launch of season 15 of MasterChef, however, he was sadly found dead at 2am at a hotel alone on Melbourne's Lygon Street yesterday.
The celebrity chef cut his holiday short to fly to Melbourne from Rome, leaving his wife, Lauren Fried, and their two children, Alfie, five, and Isla, two, in the Italian capital.
According to the Daily Telegraph, it's understood Jock and his family travelled to Europe after filming of the show finished about a month ago.
It's believed Lauren, Alfie and Isla will arrive in Melbourne from Italy today.
Jock is also the father to two adult children, Ava and Sophie, from his first two marriages, but they were not on the trip with him.
Channel 10 will not air MasterChef this week as originally planned.
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