‘MasterChef Junior’ contestant Ben Watkins dead at 14
Last Modified: Nov 18, 2020
Former MasterChef Junior contestant Ben Watkins has passed away from a rare form of cancer Monday, according to his family. He was only 14.
The young star is well known for competing in season six of MasterChef Junior in 2018. He was reportedly undergoing treatment for angiomatoid fibrous histiocytoma at Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, according to TMZ. The disease, a soft tissue tumor, is so rare that he was one out of only six people in the world diagnosed.
“Despite all the pain and sickness Ben went through, he never complained, not once,” his uncle, who is also his legal guardian, Anthony Edwards told the Chicago Tribune.
“We were praying for a different outcome,” Edwards told the outlet. “But Ben’s lungs could no longer give him the air he needed to breathe. It’s been devastating.”
Edwards also added that he had been by Watkins’ hospital bedside for 18 months as he underwent chemotherapy for tumors in his lung, spine, and shoulder.
Ben Watkins’ life had taken a tragic turn in 2017 after his father killed his mother and himself, in a murder-suicide. Despite the incident, Edwards says he was always a happy child and had always loved working at his father’s restaurant, Big Ben’s Bodacious Barbecue & Deli in Gary, Ind. And had dreamed of opening up his own restaurant and bakery someday.
Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay, the host of the MasterChef series, also expressed his condolences.
“We lost a Master of the @MasterChefJrFOX kitchen today. 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,” Ramsay wrote on Twitter.