A reality TV co-star of Cal Wilson says the comedian appeared ‘very sick’ the last time he saw her, before she died from a ‘short illness’ at 53.
Wilson was surrounded by friends on Wednesday when she passed away at Sydney‘s Royal Prince Alfred Hospital
She is survived by her husband Chris and her son Digby.
The New Zealand-born star lived in Melbourne but it is understood she was staying in Sydney during the filming of Foxtel’s The Great Australian Bake Off.
In the hours after her death was announced, Darren Purchase – who is a judge on the show – issued a heartfelt tribute on Instagram.
‘Cal was a light and such a joyful good person, funny and the kindest,’ he wrote.
‘This is so unfair and I will never forget my precious time with Cal.’
Beloved comedian Cal Wilson has died at the age of 53
In the hours after her death was announced, Darren Purchase – who is a judge on The Great Australian Bake Off – issues a heartfelt tribute on Instagram (pictured together)
Darren Purchase said Wilson was ‘very sick’ when he last saw her (tribute pictured)
He also spoke candidly about the last time he saw Wilson.
‘I am sorry this has happened to such a good person and I cannot get out of my head the last time I saw her when she was very sick,’ he wrote.
‘I wish I could give her a hug and tell her how much she means to me and so many people.’
Her exact cause of death is not yet confirmed, but her management team at Token Artists said in a statement on Wednesday that she battled with a ‘short illness’.
Just five days ago, Wilson appeared in promotional images for Melbourne Fringe Festival act, The 50 Year Show.
Tributes for the comedian flooded social media on Wednesday afternoon.
Aussie actress Rebel Wilson said: ‘This is so tragic and my heart goes out to Cal’s family.’
‘I was very very lucky to work with Cal on multiple projects especially over the last few years where she wrote brilliant material for me. She was amazingly talented and amazingly kind.’
Cal Wilson, left, is pictured with her Great Australian Bake Off co-stars, including Maggie Beer (centre) and Darren Purchase
Adam Miller, who was a finalist on The Great Australian Bake Off this year, also shared a tribute and recalled the moment Wilson comforted him on set.
‘I can’t stop thinking of the time Cal saw me alone in the corner of the Bake Off shed noticing I was rather overwhelmed by it all, and offered me the warmest, most comforting hug,’ he wrote.
‘I burst into tears at the moment, and she just stood there with me sharing wise and hilarious words to get me through that moment.’
Wilson had also worked as a radio and television presenter, actress and author. She starred on TV shows Spicks and Specks, Would I Lie To You and Good News Week.
Radio host Myf Warhurst, who frequently appeared with Wilson on ABC’s Spicks and Specks, wrote: ‘Oh Cal, what utterly devastating news. What a joy it was to be in her magnificent orbit over the years. My love to all who love her x’
The show’s host Adam Hills shared his own tribute.
‘The news of Cal’s death has broken me slightly but the outpouring of love for her has been so heartwarming,’ he wrote.
‘She was one of life’s best people and she made everyone happy. Everyone. Off stage and on. That’s how you live a life. May her spirit live on. Love ya Calbo.’
Comedian and TV host Julia Zemiro said: ‘Most generous. Most excellent. A huge hole in the Arts community and in my heart.’
The 53-year-old had performed at the Melbourne Comedy Festival 14 times and most recently co-hosted The Great Australian Bake Off
The 53-year-old had performed at the Melbourne Comedy Festival 14 times
Foxtel’s Group General Manager, Wendy Moore, said the network was devastated by the news of Wilson’s death.
‘We are all completely devastated to lose such an amazing, vibrant person. Cal joined our Bake Off cast last year and instantly brought her unique sparkle to the show,’ Ms Moore said.
‘Her professionalism, work ethic and genuine heart-warming humour instantly made her a favourite amongst cast and crew, as well as the Australian audience.
‘We will all miss her so much, and our hearts go out to her family and friends.’
‘My heart is broken for her family and for everyone that has ever met her because she was amazing. Today is a terrible day,’ fellow Kiwi comedian Urzila Carlson said.
TV personality Grant Denyer also shared his heartache.
‘Oh my goodness. I’m shaking. I can’t believe what I’m reading. How unbelievably sad,’ he said.
‘The most tender, kind, generous and talented performer I’ve ever had the pleasure to work alongside. This is devastating. Her poor family. Love you Cal… thanks for everything. You are very special.’
Wilson is seen on the set of gameshow QI in 2012
Wilson appeared on Spicks and Specks last year, with stars Adam Hills and Myf Warhurst paying tribute
The Block star Shaynna Blaze also paid her respects.
‘I can’t even comprehend this right now. The most divine, radiant person who I have watched, admired and worked alongside. This is heartbreaking. So much love to her husband, son and family. This is a very very sad day,’ she said.
Wilson had moved across the ditch from Christchurch to Melbourne in 2003 where she appeared on the sketch show Skithouse.
The comedian had performed at the Melbourne Comedy Festival 14 times. She also featured in her own Netflix stand-up special.
During lockdown, Wilson had made elaborate headdresses that she shared with her fans.
A portrait of Wilson wearing a headdress made out of dolls and Christmas baubles featured in the 2023 Archibald Prize.
Wilson had moved to Australia in 2003 where she launched her comedy career