MasterChef Junior's Ben Watkins dies of rare cancer at 14

Sarah Carty
·Features & Style Editor
·2-min read

MasterChef Junior star Ben Watkins has died at the age of 14 after battling with a rare form of cancer.

Ben, who competed on season six of the US version of the reality show, passed away on Monday, after an 18-month fight with angiomatoid fibrous histiocytoma.

The young star had suffered more than his fair share in his 14 years, after both his parents died in 2017 and he was then diagnosed with cancer.

Ben Watkins on MasterChef Junior
MasterChef Junior star Ben Watkins has died at the age of 14 after battling with a rare form of cancer. Photo: Getty Images

“We were praying for a different outcome,” Ben’s uncle and legal guardian Anthony Edwards told The Chicago Tribune after his death. “But Ben’s lungs could no longer give him the air he needed to breathe. It’s been devastating.”

A GoFundMe page, initially set up to raise money for the star after both his parents died, released a statement from the family which read: “Our Ben went home to be with his mother Monday afternoon after a year-and-a-half battle with cancer.

“After losing both of his parents, we have marvelled at Ben’s strength, courage and love for life. He never, ever complained. Ben was and will always be the strongest person we know.”

Statement about Ben Watkins MasterChef
Ben's family released a statement after his passing Photo: GoFundMe
Ben Watkins with a milkshake on MasterChef junior
In 2017, Ben lost both his parents, Leila Edwards and Mike Watkins, in a murder-suicide after his dad shot his mother and then turned the gun on himself. Photo: Getty Images

It went on to say: “Ben suffered more than his share in his fourteen years on this Earth but we take solace in that his suffering is finally over and in that, in the end, Ben knew he was loved by so many.”

In 2017, Ben lost both his parents, Leila Edwards and Mike Watkins, in a murder-suicide after his dad shot his mother and then turned the gun on himself.

Ben was 11-years-old when he appeared on MasterChef Junior, instantly becoming a fan favourite. His dream after the show was to open up a bakery, like the one his father had owned called Big Ben’s Bodacious Barbecue & Deli.

When he was 13, he was diagnosed with cancer and underwent chemotherapy in Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago.

In 2017, Gordon Ramsay sent Ben a video message in which he said: “If you can beat me in the MasterChef Junior kitchen, trust me you can beat this.”

He celebrated his 14th birthday on September 20th, with his family saying he was in good spirits.

The GoFundMe account has raised over $190,000 for Ben’s family.

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