“MasterChef Junior” judge Gordon Ramsay donated $50,000 to help late contestant Ben Watkins’ cancer treatment back in August, Variety has confirmed. Watkins died on Monday from a rare form of cancer, called angiomatoid fibrous histiocytoma, at the Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. He was 14.
Ramsay and fellow “MasterChef Junior” contestants sent Watkins a heartfelt video message in August as well, cheering him on while he was undergoing cancer treatment and encouraging people to donate to his GoFundMe.
“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.”
Watkins competed in Season 6 of “MasterChef Junior,” finishing in the top 18 spots when he was just 11 years old. He was diagnosed with angiomatoid fibrous histiocytoma two years later when he was 13.
On Monday, Watkins’ family shared a statement on his GoFundMe page, announcing his death. The page has currently raised more than $200,000 for his medical costs.
“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. We cannot thank this community enough for holding our family up in prayer and for all that you’ve done,” the family’s statement said. “Ben suffered more than his share in his 14 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.”