Comedian, actor, and writer Cal Wilson has passed away aged 53.
Her agency, Token Artists, released a statement on Wednesday morning, saying, “We are devastated to share the news that Cal Wilson, the much-loved stand up comedian, writer and actor died today, surrounded by family and friends after a short illness at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney. She was 53 years old.”
“Cal’s generosity, talent and friendship have been constants in the Australian comedy scene for the last twenty years. Cal was loved by her family, friends, fans and peers and a huge hole has been torn in the heart of our community.”
One day after news broke of her shock passing, Wilson’s cause of death was revealed as a “rare and aggressive form of cancer”, per the Daily Telegraph.
The publication also reported that she had complained of lower back pain before being admitted to hopsital, and chose to keep her health battle private, with only her closest friends and family informed of her condition in the lead up to her death.
Wilson was originally from Christchurch, New Zealand, but relocated to Australia in 2003. Here, she became a fixture in Australian comedy, appearing on Spicks and Specks, Good News Week, Would I Lie To You, her own Netflix stand-up special, and as a mainstay at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.
In 2023, she was also the subject of a portrait by artist Andrea Huelin, which won the Packing Room prize at the prestigious Archibald Prize. “I just love Andrea’s work, and I loved sitting for her,” Wilson said at the time. “I’m thrilled that something so frivolous has been immortalised with such grandeur and skill.”
News of Wilson’s passing was confirmed via her Instagram account, where an influx of comments have shared their condolences.
Fellow comedian Myf Warhust, who appeared alongside Wilson on 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.”
Presenter Grant Denyer also expressed his sadness, writing, “Oh my goodness. I’m shaking. I can’t believe what I’m reading. How unbelievably sad. 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. Xox.”
Wilson is survived by her husband, Chris, and son, Digby.