Famed British chef Gordon Ramsay generously donated $50,000 toward a former “MasterChef Junior” contestant’s medical treatment before the teen’s death.
According to Fox News, 14-year-old Ben Watkins died Nov. 16 at Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, losing a battle with angiomatoid fibrous histiocytoma. The disease is a rare soft-tissue cancer most likely to surface in children and young adults.
Ramsay was quick to express his sorrow on Twitter after the young chef’s death, 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,” the chef added.
“Sending all the love to Ben Watkins’ family with this terrible loss.”
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 Gx pic.twitter.com/RX81hP7lbw
— Gordon Ramsay (@GordonRamsay) November 17, 2020
After Watkins’ diagnosis went public, Ramsay collaborated with several judges and contestants from “MasterChef Junior” in August to create a heartwarming video message for the teenager and encourage donations to a GoFundMe aimed at covering his medical bills.
“If you can beat me in the “MasterChef Junior kitchen, trust me, you can beat this,” Ramsay said in the video. “God bless, and lots of love, buddy.”
According to Watkins’ family, the GoFundMe page raised more than $200,000 before his passing.
Watkins finished among the top 18 contestants during his time on “MasterChef Junior” at age 11.
The boy received his diagnosis two years later.
“Our Ben went home to be with his mother Monday afternoon after a year-and-a-half-long battle with Cancer,” read a statement posted to his GoFundMe page shortly after his death.
Dealt a difficult hand medically at such a young age, Watkins also struggled with the loss of his parents before his television debut.
His father and mother died in a 2017 murder-suicide, and he soon was taken in by his uncle, family attorney Trent A. McCain said, according to Fox News.
“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 family said in a statement on Nov. 16, according to The New York Times.
Despite all he endured, however, family members say Watkins lived his last years in astounding strength of spirit.
“Despite all the pain and sickness Ben went through, he never complained, not once,” his uncle, Anthony Edwards, told the Chicago Tribune.
“We cannot thank this community enough for holding our family up in prayer and for all that you’ve done,” another family statement read.
“Ben was and will always be the strongest person we know.”
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