Celebrity chef Ross Burden (pictured), one of the stars of reality TV shows MasterChef and Ready Steady Cook, has died at the age of 45.
The British TV personality, who had become a household name in the UK after reaching the MasterChef finals as an amateur chef in 1993, was diagnosed with leukemia last year and had contracted an infection after receiving a recent bone marrow transplant.
Despite not winning the competition, New Zealand native Burden made several appearances on the show and returned to his home country last year to be a judge on that nation’s local MasterChef imprint. Burden also spent a decade as a regular on Ready Steady Cook, and published several books with co-star Ainsley Harriott.
His sister Kirsten Hughes told The New Zealand Herald that her brother’s death was sudden and unexpected.
“Right up until probably a week-and-a-half ago, he was making his next lot of plans. He had the world map out,” Hughes told the paper, also noting that he was just one paper away from completing his Masters degree on Maori studies at Auckland University.
Burden died on July 17.