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13 WTHR Indianapolis | Indianapolis Local News & Weather

Indiana teen restaurateur who competed on "MasterChef Junior" dies of cancer at 14

Ben Watkins was diagnosed with a rare tumor shortly after his 13th birthday.

An Indiana teenager who gained fame competing on "MasterChef Junior" has died after battling cancer.

Gary native Ben Watkins, 14, appeared on the sixth season of the culinary show when he was just 11 years old. According to a GoFundMe page set up to support him, Watkins was diagnosed with angiomatoid fibrous histiocytoma, a rare soft tissue tumor, just after his 13th birthday. He was just one of six people in the world diagnosed with the illness.

He passed away Monday afternoon.

In a statement, his maternal grandmother Donna Edwards and uncle Anthony Edwards said Watkins "never, ever complained" after receiving his diagnosis.

"Ben was and will always be the strongest person we know," they wrote. "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."

Donna Edwards and her younger brother, Anthony, became Watkins' legal guardians after his father shot and killed his mother, Leila Edwards, before taking his own life in 2017, the Chicago Tribune reported

MasterChef Junior host Chef Gordon Ramsay tweeted his condolences.

According to the #Love4Ben GoFundMe, which was started as a way to support Watkins after the deaths of his parents, Watkins and his parents opened Ben's Bodacious BBQ and Delicatessen in Gary's Miller neighborhood. The page said Watkins ultimately dreamed of becoming an engineer.