'MasterChef Junior' star Ben Watkins dies at 14 after battling rare cancer

ByABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Wednesday, November 18, 2020
Gary boy Ben Watkin, competitor on MasterChef Junior, dies while battling rare cancer at age 14
Ben Watkins, an orphaned Gary teen who competed on Master Chef Junior, has died while battling a rare form of cancer, his uncle said.

GARY, Ind. -- Ben Watkins, an orphaned teen who competed on "MasterChef Junior," has died following a battle with a rare form of cancer, his uncle said. He was 14-years-old.

Watkins' uncle said he died at Lurie Children's Hospital in Chicago, where he was being treated. Anthony Edwards said Watkins was having a hard time recovering after his second round of chemotherapy, and had been on a ventilator for about two weeks.

Edwards said Watkins died of a heart attack. His family is grieving their tremendous loss.

Watkins was only 11-years-old when he won over fans competing on the sixth season of "MasterChef Junior."

"MasterChef Junior" host Gordon Ramsey tweeted his condolences, writing in part, "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 losing both of his parents in September 2017, we have marveled at Ben's strength, courage and love for life," a statement on the GoFundMe page for Watkins said. "He never, ever complained. 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."

He was diagnosed with angiomatoid fibrous histiocytoma and spent a year and a half battling the rare cancer.

He was an aspiring chef and engineer.