MasterChef Junior star Ben Watkins dies at 14 after cancer battle

Susannah Alexander
·2-min read
Photo credit: Fox
Photo credit: Fox

From Digital Spy

MasterChef Junior star Ben Watkins has sadly passed away at the age of 14 after a battle with cancer.

Watkins, who competed in season six of the cooking contest in 2018, died on Monday (November 16), a few months after his angiomatoid fibrous histiocytoma diagnosis, according to his relatives.

Attorney Trent McCain shared a statement from Ben's family on Twitter, with his grandmother and uncle saying: "After losing both his parents in September 2017, we have marveled at Ben's strength, courage and love for life. He never, ever complained. Ben was and will always be the strongest person we know."

Photo credit: Fox
Photo credit: Fox

Chef Gordon Ramsay, who hosts MasterChef Junior, shared a tribute to Ben on Twitter, writing: "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."

The show's official Twitter account also paid tribute to Ben, calling him "a tremendous role model".

"It is with great sadness that we mourn the passing of Ben Watkins, a beloved member of the MasterChef Junior family. Ben overcame so much in his life with a remarkably positive attitude," the statement reads.

"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."

Ben was 11 years old when he competed on MasterChef Junior, making it to episode five before he was eliminated. In his time on the show, he cooked chicken breast, a fruit tart, halibut and rack of lamb and also created a milkshake.

Ben also used to cook at his family's restaurant, Big Ben's Bodacious Barbecue, Baker & Deli in Indiana.

His family has created a #Love4Ben Memorial Fund in his memory.

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