The delicious hit TLC series, "Cake Wars," ended yesterday's season four premiere on a somber note with the announcement that long-time baker Sal Picinich had passed away.

According to his wife, Lucille, the 63-year-old died from cancer, just over a year after taking a leave of absence from the show. Picinich worked for 45 years at Carlo's Bakery in Hoboken, N.J., originally under the father of "Cake Boss" star Buddy Valastro.

"Carlo's was everything to him," Lucille told "He was so dedicated. Work always came before family with Sal. He worked hard all his days and he was proud of the product that he put out."

"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."

Picinich briefly returned to "Cake Boss" last year for the Employee of the Century of the Award, which he accepted on the 100th anniversary of the bakery.

"Sal was like a second father to me, and I thoroughly enjoy every moment that we spent together," said Valastro in a statement. 

Sal leaves behind his beloved wife; two children, Danielle Picinich Reinoso and Salvatore Picinich; and two grandchildren.

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