The young aspiring chef was diagnosed with a rare cancer just years after his parents died by a murder-suicide
Ben Watkins, the young star of MasterChef Junior, died on Monday at 14 after being diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, his family announced.
Watkins was diagnosed with a soft tissue tumor at only 13. His cancer, known as Angiomatoid Fibrous Histiocytoma, was deemed so rare that doctors told family members that only 1 in 6 people in the entire world is diagnosed with it, TMZ reports.
He had been undergoing treatment for the illness at Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.
Watkins competed in MasterChef Junior back in 2018 during the show’s sixth season at the tender age of 11. He quickly became a fan favorite. Earlier this year, the show’s host, Gordon Ramsay, and former MasterChef Junior competitors recorded a touching video message wishing the young chef a speedy recovery.
Watkins’s death hits his family just three years after his parents were killed in a murder-suicide tragedy in 2017, just after he had finished filming the show. The teen found a love for the kitchen from his parents who owned a restaurant and named it after him.
A GoFundMe page that was originally set up to cover medical expenses has not been updated as a memorial fund. To date, the fundraiser has pulled in over $190,000.
AFH is a rare tumor most commonly affecting children and young adults. This tumor presents most often a painless, slow-growing mass. The characteristics of this disease compounded with few patients experiencing noticeable symptoms can make it hard to be detected.
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