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'Cake Boss' baker Sal Picinich dies from cancer at age 63


By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 02/02/2011 

Cake Boss baker Sal Picinich has died at age 63.

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Picinich passed away from a battle with cancer on Sunday, The Bergen Record reported.

Picinich was born on the Croatian island of Susak and worked 45 years at Carlo's Bakery, the Hoboken, NJ bakery run by Cake Boss star Buddy Valastro.

A tribute to the reality TV star was featured during TLC's Monday night broadcast of the fourth-season premiere of Cake Boss, which follows the decorative cake-stylings of Valastro and his staff.

"TLC was saddened to learn of the passing of Sal Picinich, a beloved Carlo's Bakery employee featured on Cake Boss," TLC said in a statement obtained by People. "We join Buddy Valastro and the entire Carlo's crew in sending Sal's family our sincerest condolences."

Picinich worked under Valastro's late father Buddy Senior in the family bakery, and Valastro admired him as his "second father," Adam Bourcier, the bakery's publicist told The Record.

Picinich's illness reportedly became apparent when he was no longer on the show in late 2009 -- which was unusual considering his wife, Lucille Picinich, said Sal loved his work and enjoyed being at the bakery as often as possible.

"The minute he didn't go down to Carlo's Bakery was the minute I knew Sal was starting to feel pain," Lucille told The Record.

Sal and Lucille were married for 38 years, and the Cake Boss baker leaves behind his children -- Danielle Picinich Reinoso and Salvatore Picinich -- two sisters, two brothers, and two grandchildren.

Picinich's funeral will take place on Friday in East Rutherford, NJ.

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