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MasterChef Junior Alum Ben Watkins Dead At 14 -- Just 3 Years After Losing Both Parents

Ben Watkins MasterChef Junior Dead

The world has lost another pure heart.

Ben Watkins, who America fell in love with on season 6 of MasterChef Junior, died Monday from a rare form of cancer. He was only 14.

Related: American Idol Alum Nikki McKibbin Dead At 42

From an early age, Ben showed an interest in the culinary arts with the time he spent helping his parents run their family restaurant, Big Ben’s Bodacious Barbecue, Bakery, & Deli. Named for their son the chef! 

At age 11, he finished among the top 18 in Fox’s hit culinary competition and instantly became a fan favorite who charmed audiences with his upbeat attitude and talent.

Gordon Ramsay tweeted this about Watkin’s passing:

“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.”

Some of these rough turns include the most tragic twist of all. As he was finishing his time on MasterChef Junior, he lost his parents in what was eventually ruled a murder suicide. Only two years later, he was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called angiomatoid fibrous histiocytoma — and sadly several months later it would claim his own life.

His maternal grandmother Donna Edwards and uncle Anthony Edwards released the following statement confirming the heartbreaking news:

“Our Ben went home to be with his mother Monday afternoon after a year-and-a-half long battle with Cancer. After losing both of his parents in September 2017, we have marveled at Ben’s strength, courage and love for life. He never, ever complained. Ben was and always will be the strongest person we know. When Ben’s rare illness was shared with the world, he was so heartened b the outpouring of love he received from every corner of the globe — especially in his hometown of Gary, Indiana. We cannot thank his community enough for holding our family up in prayer and for all that you’ve done. Ben suffered more than his share in his 14 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. #Love4Ben”

Our hearts are with Ben’s family as they mourn the loss of an excellent chef — and a kind soul.


[Image via MasterChef Junior/Hulu.]

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Nov 17, 2020 18:06pm PDT