See Gordan Ramsey’s Tribute To Ben Watkins, 14-Year-Old ‘MasterChef’ That Tragically Died
The 14-year-old pint-sized chef Ben Watkins from MasterChef Junior has sadly passed away. He was undergoing treatment at Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago up until his death on Monday.
‘MasterChef Junior’ Star Ben Watkins Dead At 14 Years Old
Ben became a fan-favorite on MasterChef Junior as he soared through the competition under the wing of acclaimed chef Gordon Ramsay. Competing against 40 other talented young chefs, Ben got 18th place in the competition, a tremendous achievement at such a young age. He was diagnosed with a soft tissue tumor at the age of 13. He was one of six people in the world who have been diagnosed with angiomatoid fibrous histiocytoma.
After his diagnosis, the community and his family rallied behind him to raise money for his treatment. Initially, a GoFundMe was created to support him after the death of his parents. Ben had a love for cooking and was known to cook and work at the restaurant Big Ben’s Bodacious BBQ. He has a bit of a tragic backstory after his parents Leila Edwards and Mike Watkins both died in a murder-suicide three years ago. The restaurant was named after Ben but closed its doors after their passing.
He had so much love and support that people wanted to help him in any way that they could. The young talent had dreams of pursuing an engineering career. “It’s been an obvious adjustment for Ben, but he’s doing well, considering everything,” his Uncle Anthony said. “We take it one day at a time.”
“The #Love4Ben campaign was originally intended to support Ben and his family after the passing of his parents in 2017,” the fundraiser page says. “Due to the generosity of so many, we were able to establish a trust fund of nearly $30,000 at Peoples Bank in Munster, Indiana.” The page was organized by his Grandma Donna and Uncle Anthony.
Ben’s Catsmates Rallied Around Him After Hearing News Of His Diagnosis
After Ben learned his rare diagnosis, his MasterChef Junior co-stars all created a video to tell him that he has their full support. They shared the good memories that they had together and encouraged people to donate to Ben’s fundraiser and help him out. Gordon also joined in to tell people to donate and help out as much as they can.
“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 Gx” Gordon tweeted after hearing the news of Ben’s passing.
Our hearts go out to Ben’s family, friends, fans and all of the people from MasterChef Junior that had the pleasure of working with him.