(Meredith) -- Ben Watkins, a former contestant on "MasterChef Junior," has died from a rare form of cancer. He was 14.
Watkins was diagnosed with angiomatoid fibrous histiocytoma shortly after his 13th birthday last September, his family wrote on a GoFundMe page. Angiomatoid fibrous histiocytoma is a rare soft tissue tumor that usually occurs in children and young adults.
After battling the disease for a year-and-a-half, Watkins passed away on Monday at the Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, NBC News reported. His death comes three years after he lost both of his parents in a domestic violence incident.
A statement from Watkin's uncle and grandmother said the teen had gone "home to be with his mother."
"After losing both his parents in September 2017, we have marveled at Ben's strength, courage, and love for life," the statement reads. "He never, ever complained. Ben was and will always be the strongest person we know."
"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 statement continued. "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."
Watkins competed in the sixth season of “MasterChef Junior” when he was 11 years old. He placed in the top 18.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Watkins' parents died in a murder-suicide in 2017. His father, Michael Watkins, reportedly shot and killed the boy's mother, Leila Edwards, before taking his own life.
Following the tragedy, the boy's community raised more than $30,000 to help him continue his education in either culinary arts or engineering. The GoFundMe page, now titled "#Love4Ben Memorial Fund," has reached more than $200,000 donations after Watkins' death.
A statement posted to the official "MasterChef Junior" Twitter account remembered Watkins as a role model for all chefs.
"It is with great sadness that we mourn the passing of Ben Watkins, a beloved member of the MasterChef Junior family," the statement reads. "Ben overcame so much in his life with a remarkably positive attitude. He was a tremendous role model for chefs of all ages and will be dearly missed by everyone at EndemolShine North America and FOX Entertainment."
The show's host, Gordon Ramsay, also posted a tribute to Watkins on Instagram.
"Ben you were an incredibly talented home cook and even stronger young man," Ramsay wrote. "Your young life had so many tough turns but you always persevered. I adored our time cooking and laughing together on set. Heartbroken today losing my little mate, sending all my love to Ben Watkins’ family with this terrible loss."