‘MasterChef Junior’ contestant Ben Watkins dies at 14

November 18, 2020

Ben Watkins, a former contestant on “MasterChef Junior,” has died at the age of 14.

Trent A. McCain, the family’s attorney, told Fox News that the young chef died in a Chicago children’s hospital on Nov. 16.

The 14-year-old, who appeared on season 6 of the series, was battling a rare illness known as Angiomatoid Fibrous Histiocytoma. McCain shared that only six people in the world have been diagnosed with the uncommon disease.

His death was announced in a statement from his family on a GoFundMe page.
“Our Ben went home to be with his mother Monday afternoon after a year-and-a-half-long battle with Cancer,” read the statement.

Watkins competed during season six of the popular cooking completion show hosted by Gordon Ramsay.

According to McCain, Ben’s parents died in a murder-suicide in 2017. The tragic event happened several months before season six of “MasterChef Junior” premiered, and after his surgery, Ben’s uncle took care of him.

“Ben was and will always be the strongest person we know. When Ben’s rare illness was shared with the world, he was so heartened by the outpouring of love he received from every corner of the globe-- especially here in his hometown of Gary, Indiana,” the statement continued. “We cannot thank this community enough for holding our family up in prayer and for all that you’ve done.”

Ramsay paid tribute on social media by posting a picture of the young chef.

“We lost a Master of the @MasterChefJrFOX kitchen today,” Ramsay said.” Ben you were an incredibly talented home cook and even stronger young man. Your young life had so many tough turns but you always persevered. Sending all the love to Ben Watkins’ family with this terrible loss.”

After the news of Watkins’ diagnosis, Ramsey and several judges and contestants from “MasterChef Junior” appeared in a video asking fans to donate to his GoFundMe.

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