Jock Zonfrillo: MasterChef Australia Judge Was Secretly Battling Bowel Cancer for Years as Fans Try to Decode His Final Instagram Comment

Zonfrillo underwent chemotherapy during the 2021 filming of the second season of Celebrity MasterChef.

British MasterChef judge Jock Zonfrillo had secretly battled bowel cancer for years before he was found dead in a hotel room in Australia on Monday, according to reports. Zonfrillo was found dead by police in a hotel room in Melbourne around 2 am after they were asked to run a welfare check.

However, no cause of death has officially been announced and it is still unclear if the 46-year-old died of cancer. Zonfrillo only told his close friends that he was suffering from the deadly disease. This comes as fans of the Scottish-born chef discovered what seems to be his final Instagram comment, posted just before his death.

Secretly Fighting a Killer Disease

Jock Zonfrillo
Jock Zonfrillo Twitter

A representative for Victoria Police stated that although a report would be made for the coroner, Zonfrillo's death was not being tread as suspicious. According to reports, the chef concealed his health issues and typically received treatment when the cooking show wasn't being filmed.

According to information provided to Daily Mail Australia, Zonfrillo started receiving treatment for bowel cancer at least in June 2021, one month after the disease was found during a colonoscopy.

The source told the outlet, "No one in his circle is aware of what he is going through. Neither colleagues or friends."

"He has not wanted anyone to know as he deals with this tough journey. He is coping poorly with chemo treatment, and the effects it is having."

Jock Zonfrillo
Jock Zonfrillo Twitter

In the months that followed, Zonfrillo received therapy in Queensland as well as an outpatient at the Kinghorn Cancer Centre in Sydney and Epworth Oncology in Melbourne, according to the source.

Zonfrillo underwent chemotherapy during the 2021 filming of the second season of Celebrity MasterChef.

According to Daily Mail Australia, it has seen evidence of Zonfrillo discussing the diagnosis with a close friend. Earlier, Zonfrillo received chemotherapy and radiation therapy for colon cancer, and he entered remission in 2016. The cancer then came back more aggressively.

Also, Zonfrillo didn't mention anything about his battle with cancer in his memoir 2021 Last Shot.

Australia's Network Ten also denied off-the-record in August of that year that Zonfrillo had cancer, and a source claimed he had still only told a small number of people about the condition.

"I was told the reason why he hasn't disclosed his medical condition was because he didn't want people feeling sorry for him, or treating him any different," the source said back then.

Jock Zonfrillo
Jock Zonfrillo Twitter

"He has dropped in weight since his diagnosis because the chemo is causing nausea, excessive vomiting and he can't keep food down for too long."

More Revelations

Zonfrillo was receiving cancer treatment while sailing in Italy in September of last year. According to the source, the patient was being treated by a doctor who had been flown in since he had been avoiding hospitals.

Zonfrillo wrote in Last Shot about his years of heroin addiction when he was a young man in Glasgow.

This came as Zonfrillo's fans discovered what seems to be his final Instagram comment, posted just before his death.

Zonfrillo had published an Instagram post on Sunday night promoting the Channel Ten cooking show, which has been postponed out of respect for his family and is now set to premiere on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.

"The time has come for @masterchefau to kick off a new season filled with Secrets & Surprises! And @jamieoliver of course!" he wrote in the caption.

Jock Zonfrillo
Jock Zonfrillo with other celebrity judges on MasterChef's 15th Season Twitter

Later, in what is believed to be his final-ever public exchange on social media, he replied to a fan in the comments section.

One of his admirers mentioned how much their son loved to watch Zonfrillo on MasterChef and would frequently imitate his accent.

"Very exciting... (my son shouts out "Joooooock" every time you appear on the advert!!!! He is even practicing his Scottish accent!!!)" they wrote.

Zonfrillo responded to this statement by using the laughing-while-crying emoji.

After news of his death broke, fans noted the eerie coincidence of him posting the comment late Sunday night, just hours before he was found dead at 2 pm on Monday.

"So hard to believe you are gone when you commented this just a couple of hours ago," one follower wrote.

"One of his last comments," another user wrote.

"His reply not even 24 hours [old] yet! Probably this was his last reply," yet another fan wrote.

The Scottish-Australian chef and restaurateur shot to stardom after joining Andy Allen and Melissa Leong as hosts of the popular Channel 10 cookery show in 2019.

Zonfrillo, one of Australia's most renowned chefs, reportedly overcame a heroin addiction during his teenage years in Glasgow before beginning his career working for Michelin-starred chef Marco Pierre White in the UK.

Jock Zonfrillo
Jock Zonfrillo Twitter

He also once said during an interview that he owed his life to food. "It saved my life. A lot of my friends from my early days are dead now or in jail," he had said.

"The thing about being a junkie is that the only way you can get out is if there's something in your life more compelling than drugs. And for me, I had another addiction: to food and to cooking. That's what moved me on. That's how I survived."

Zonfrillo has also spoken frankly about his battle with anxiety. "I never thought I would have anxiety, let alone admit to it," he said.

"It's a real working class problem to arrive somewhere and think that you're not good enough," he confessed.

"For me, I've done that my entire life. Every job I've got, I've felt like I wasn't good enough to be there."

Zonfrillo immigrated to Australia and took the position of head chef at Sydney's Restaurant 41 after being sober and establishing himself in Britain. That was in 2000.

In 2013, he founded Adelaide's acclaimed Restaurant Orana. The Australian newspaper dubbed him Australia's Hottest Chef in 2018, the year before he joined MasterChef.

The Good Food Guide also rated Orana Australia's top restaurant in that same year.

Restaurant Orana pulled down its shutters in 2020 after entering voluntary administration with debts of $3.2 million.