“MasterChef Junior” judge Gordon Ramsay quietly donated $50,000 in August to help fund the cancer treatments of Ben Watkins, who died Monday.
The cancer caused aggressive tumors that affected the spine, shoulder and lung of the Gary, Indiana, native, The Times of Northwest Indiana reported.
Watkins was one of six people in the world diagnosed with the illness, WTHR reported.
Ramsay paid tribute to Ben on his Twitter page this week.
“We lost a Master of the @MasterChefJrFOX kitchen today,” Ramsay tweeted. “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.”
Watkins was 11 years old when he competed in Season 6 of “MasterChef Junior” in 2017, finishing among the top 18 spots, Variety reported.
The teen had become a fixture at Big Ben’s Bodacious BBQ and Delicatessen, the Gary restaurant owned by his parents, cooking and manning the front counter, the Times reported.
On Sept. 16, 2017, Watkins’ father, Michael Watkins, 46, fatally shot his wife, Leila Edwards, 43, at their Gary home, the Tribune reported.
Investigators ruled the case a murder-suicide, the newspaper reported.
After Ben Watkins’ episodes of “MasterChef Junior” aired in early 2018, his family created a trust fund of nearly $30,000, US magazine reported.
Ramsay and other contestants of “MasterChef Junior” sent him a video of encouragement when the teen began his chemotherapy treatments.
“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.”
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