MasterChef Junior star Ben Watkins has died at the age of 14.
He had been undergoing treatment for a rare form of cancer at Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago when he died this week, his family have confirmed.
Ben competed in Season 6 of the Gordon Ramsay hosted cooking competition when he was 11 years old, and while he didn’t win the contest, became a firm fan favourite.
The talented youngster was then diagnosed with a soft tissue tumour just days after his 13th birthday.
His family said that Ben was one of six people in the world to be diagnosed with Angiomatoid Fibrous Histiocytoma.
The shock diagnosis came just three years after the death of Ben’s parents.
Leila Edwards and Mike Watkins – died in a domestic violence incident that was ruled as a murder-suicide, police told the Chicago Tribune at the time.
According to police reports, Mike shot and killed Ben’s mother before turning the gun on to himself.
Ben had just finished filming his time on Fox’s MasterChef junior when the incident happened.
Mike and Leila had owned Big Ben’s Bodacious BBQ and Delicatessen in Gary, Indiana where their boy Ben was inspired to learn how to cook.
Following his parents’ death, Ben was being looked after by his maternal grandmother and uncle.
The pair set up a GoFundMe page for Ben to help pay for his hospital bills when he was diagnosed with cancer.
Speaking on the site at the time, they shared: “Ben is an aspiring chef.
“He opened Big Ben’s Bodacious BBQ and Delicatessen in the Miller Community of Gary, Indiana with his late parents, Leila Edwards and Mike Watkins.
“Shortly after his 13th birthday, Ben was diagnosed with a rare illness called Angiomatoid Fibrous Histiocytoma. [It’s] a soft tissue tumour usually in children and young adults.
“Young Ben is one of only six people in the entire world with this illness. Ben is currently undergoing treatment at Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.
“Despite all of Ben’s trials and tribulations, he remains positive. He looks forward to getting back in the kitchen and pursuing his dream to become an engineer.”
Gordon Ramsay and Ben’s fellow Masterchef Junior stars sent Ben a special video message earlier this year after hearing about his health battle and helped raise donations for a GoFundME page.