Jock Zonfrillo, MasterChef & Debian Day Volunteer Suicide

When I heard the news about the death of Jock Zonfrillo, I couldn't help both relating to the circumstances and also relating it to the Debian Day Volunteer Suicide.

Zonfrillo's cause of death has not been declared and on the one hand, I want to avoid speculating about why he died but on the other hand, there is a stark similarity here: Zonfrillo died on the day the new series of MasterChef was to commence, while Frans Pop resigned to commit suicide on the night before Debian Day.

The similarities don't stop there. Both MasterChef and Debian involve having a very public profile for one's work.

Only the coroner can tell us what was on Zonfrillo's mind in the lead up to his death.

Yet I could relate to his situation for other reasons. Zonfrillo and I were almost neighbours. A Melbourne real-estate guide interviewed him in his home. A lot of University of Melbourne students have lived in houses just like this. Mine was just around the corner. News reports tell us he died at a property in Lygon Street. They don't specify if he was at home or at one of the numerous restaurants and bars in the lower section of the street.

The Italian cultural center and museum is just around the corner. There is no place in Australia where Italians can feel more at home so I would not be rushing to conclusions about how and why he died. News reports have speculated about a herion addiction that he grew out of decades ago: for all intents and purposes, given the time that passed and the way he reinvented his life, those stories may be total nonsense. We can only wait for the report of the coroner and see if there is anything more in the public interest.

Jock Zonfrillo, Carlton, Lygon Street, Australia, MasterChef