Gordon Ramsay Donates $50,000 Toward Late MasterChef Junior Star Ben Watkins' Cancer Battle

Corinne Heller
·2 min read

Gordon Ramsay donated a hefty sum to try to save the life of MasterChef Junior's Ben Watkins.

On Monday, the popular season six contestant died at age 14 after battling a rare cancer. On Friday, Nov. 20, E! News confirmed that the MasterChef franchise host donated $50,000 to help fund the teen's medical costs in August. TMZ was the first to report the story.

Also in August, the Fox studio released a YouTube video showing Gordon and Ben's MasterChef Junior co-stars wishing him well. "If you can beat me in the MasterChef Junior kitchen, trust me, you can beat this," the celeb chef said in the clip. "God bless and lots of love, buddy."

The video also promoted a GoFundMe page set up to help cover Ben's cancer treatments. More than $206,000 out of a goal of $300,000 was raised.

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An update on the page posted in July had stated that just after his 13th birthday in September 2019, Ben was diagnosed with a rare illness called Angiomatoid Fibrous Histiocytoma, a soft tissue tumor usually found in children and young adults, and was being treated at Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago. He underwent chemotherapy and also had surgery.

Gordon Ramsay, Ben Watkins
Gordon Ramsay, Ben Watkins

Ben's maternal grandmother, Donna Edwards, and uncle, Anthony Edwards, wrote in a message posted on the GoFundMe page on Tuesday, "Our Ben went home to be with his mother Monday afternoon after a year-and-a-half-long battle with Cancer."

Ben lived with the Edwards' after his father, Michael Watkins, shot and killed the teen's mother, Leila Edwards, in a murder-suicide in their home in 2017.

"After losing both of his parents in September 2017, we have marveled at Ben's strength, courage and love for life," the message read. "He never, ever complained. Ben was and will always be the strongest person we know."

Ben Watkins, Masterchef Junior
Ben Watkins, Masterchef Junior

"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," the message continued. "We cannot thank this community enough for holding our family up in prayer and for all that you've done. 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. #Love4Ben."

Gordon paid tribute to Ben on his Twitter page this week. "We lost a Master of the @MasterChefJrFOX kitchen today," he wrote. "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."