Ben Watkins, Beloved MasterChef Junior Star, Dead at 14

Ben Watkins

Heart-shattering news this week out of the reality TV world:

Ben Watkins, a fan favorite from his time on MasterChef Junior, died on Monday after a year-and-a-half long battle with cancer.

He was 14 years old.

The teenager’s passing comes three years after both his parents were killed in a domestic violence incident in 2017.

According to The Chicago Tribute, Watkins was surrounded by his loved ones and his massive Marvel Comics collection at the time he died.

“Ben, you know that your life has the beginnings of a real-life Marvel Comics character,” his uncle and legal guardian, Anthony Edwards, said told this newspaper.

“We were praying for a different outcome,” Anthony added. “But Ben’s lungs could no longer give him the air he needed to breathe. It’s been devastating.”

A GoFund Me page set up by Ben’s family has already raised nearly $200,000.

Reads a statement on the website of Watkins:

“He never, ever complained. Ben was and will always be the strongest person we know.”

This, despite being diagnosed days before his 13th birthday in 2019, with Angiomatoid Fibrous Histiocytoma… an extremely rare soft tissue tumor that occurs in only a minute number of kids and young adults.

At the time he was diagnosed, Watkins was one of just six people in the world with thsi kind of cancer.

“Despite all of Ben’s trials and tribulations,” a message read on the GoFund Me page in July, “he remains positive and looks forward to getting back in the kitchen and pursuing his dream to become an engineer.

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“Members of the community have joined together to see that the life challenges that Ben has gone through [do] not derail him from reaching his full potential and fulfilling his dreams.”

Prior to starring on Season 6 of MasterChef Junior at age 11, Watkins helped run Big Ben’s Bodacious BBQ and Delicatessen in Gary, Indiana with his late mother and father, who died three years ago in a murder-suicide.

The-host Gordon Ramsay took to Twitter to express his heartache over Ben’s loss on Tuesday, writing:

“We lost a Master of the 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.”

EndemolShine North America and Fox Entertainment also shared their condolences.

“It is with great sadness that we mourn the passing of Ben Watkins, a beloved member of the MasterChef Juniorfamily,” this message read.

“Ben overcame so much in his life with a remarkably positive attitude.

“He was a tremendous role model for chefs of all ages and will be dearly missed by everyone at EndemolShine North America and Fox Entertainment.”

We’ll give the final words here, though, to Ben’s uncle:

“Ben was just… so selfless. It was unreal, the character he has… he had.

“Ben’s life was grandiose in a way. Every corner that he turned had transformed into a statement. It’s comforting to know he doesn’t have to experience such pain and suffering anymore…

“Ben will always be our superhero.”

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Source:: The Hollywood Gossip

      

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