updated 02/01/2011 AT 4:35 PM ET
•originally published 02/01/2011 AT 4:45 PM ET
Cake Boss baker and reality TV personality Sal Picinich passed away from cancer on Sunday at age 63, Northern New Jersey newspaper The Record reports.
Picinich, born on the Croatian island of Susak, worked for more than four decades at Carlo’s Bakery in Hoboken, N.J., where the hit TLC series – which follows the adventures of Buddy “The Cake Boss” Valastro – is set.
A rep for the bakery says Valastro looked up to Picinich as a “second father.” Picinich had worked under Valastro’s late father, Buddy, Sr.
“TLC was saddened to learn of the passing of Sal Picinich, a beloved Carlo’s Bakery employee featured on Cake Boss,” TLC said in an official statement. “We join Buddy Valastro and the entire Carlo’s crew in sending Sal’s family our sincerest condolences.” A tribute to Picinich was made at the end of the show’s season 4 premiere, which aired Monday.
He is survived by two children, Danielle and Salvatore, and two brothers, two sisters and two grandchildren.
Picinich’s funeral will be held Friday in East Rutherford, N.J.