Television

Ben Watkins Dies: MasterChef Junior Star Was 14

Sad news out of the TV world today. 

Ben Watkins, best known for appearing on Masterchef Junior and showing off his impressive culinary knowledge, has died, according to the Chicago Tribune. 

He was 14. 

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The youngster passed away Monday after an 18 month battle with cancer. His death comes three years after both his parents were killed in a domestic violence incident. 

Watkins’ relatives shared the sad news via an update on a GoFundMe campaign,

Our Ben went home to be with his mother this 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 will always be the strongest person we know. When Ben’s rare illness was shared with the world, he was so heartened by the outpouring of love he received from every corner of the globe–especially here in his hometown of Gary, Indiana.

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We cannot thank this community enough for holding our family up in prayer and for all that you’ve done. 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.

The statement was signed by Ben’s grandmother Donna Edwards and uncle Anthony Edwards. 

Ben was diagnosed after with a rare illness called Angiomatoid Fibrous Histiocytoma, a soft tissue tumor usually in children and young adults. The diagnosis came shortly after his 13th birthday.

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According to the GoFundMe page, “Young Ben is one of only six people in the entire world diagnosed with this illness.” 

Watkins first appeared on Masterchef Junior during its sixth season. He was 11 years old. 

May he rest in peace. 

Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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