'MasterChef Junior' Contestant Ben Watkins Dies at 14 After Battling Cancer

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Ben Watkins, the precocious kid cook from season six of "MasterChef Junior," has died after battling cancer, his family announced. He was 14.

"Our Ben went home to be with his mother Monday afternoon after a year-and-a-half-long battle with cancer,” Ben’s grandmother Donna Edwards and uncle Anthony Edwards said Tuesday on the boy's GoFundMe page

“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 persons we know,” the statement said.

In July, the fundraising page announced Watkins had been diagnosed with a rare cancer just after turning 13. He was reportedly only one of six people in the world to have angiomatoid fibrous histiocytoma, which caused aggressive tumors in his spine, shoulder and lungs. He began chemo at Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago.

He learned to cook at his family's barbecue business, and manned the counter at the Gary, Indiana eatery.

Ben's father, Michael Watkins, 46, shot and killed Ben's mother, Leila Edwards, 43, before taking his own life in their home in Gary, authorities said. Investigators ruled it a murder-suicide.

The boy, who was 11 when his parents died, went to live with his grandmother. 


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