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Chopped Junior winner Fuller Goldsmith dies aged 17 after fifth battle with cancer

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Famed teenage chef Fuller Goldsmith has died of cancer just days before his 18th birthday, after battling the disease five times.

Goldsmith, best known for winning Chopped Junior in 2017 at age 13, was first diagnosed with leukemia at age three.

The teenage chef was declared cancer-free after his fourth round of illness in August 2020, but unfortunately relapsed again in February 2021.

In a series of Instagram posts that month, Fuller announced that doctors had found a brain tumor and that he would have to undergo surgery and 12 weeks of radiation and chemotherapy.

Fuller Goldsmith, 17, died of leukemia on Tuesday after battling the disease for five rounds

Goldsmith is best known for winning Chopped Junior in 2017 at the age of 13

Goldsmith is best known for winning Chopped Junior in 2017 at the age of 13

He said he had been experiencing nausea and dizziness for weeks before his doctor discovered the brain tumor.

On February 28, Goldsmith confirmed to his fans that the brain tumor was indeed his “leukemia trying to come back.”

“Unfortunately, the news about the tumor was not what I hoped. The same Leukemia is back,” he wrote on Instagram. ‘Round 5 – I’m ready to fight!’

Though the Alabama teen has largely kept his battle with cancer private over the years, he told the jury in 2017, “When I was diagnosed, the only thing that woke me up and cooked was Chopped.

Goldsmith was first diagnosed with the disease at age three and recently relapsed for the fifth time in February after his doctors found a brain tumor

Goldsmith was first diagnosed with the disease at age three and recently relapsed for the fifth time in February after his doctors found a brain tumor

Goldsmith (pictured front left) was in remission while filming Chopped Junior

Goldsmith (pictured front left) was in remission while filming Chopped Junior

His mother Melissa told This Is Alabama that Goldsmith started showing an interest in cooking around the age of three. While his family didn’t “necessarily eat all the meals” he made, he “went into the kitchen to play.”

His passion for cooking did not let go and he kept getting better and dreamed of attending the Culinary Institute of America in New York City.

At age 13, Goldsmith signed up for Chopped Junior by impersonating his mother in the application.

“We didn’t realize how talented he was until he won Chopped Junior. I think if he cooks at home all day, we take it for granted,” she told This Is Alabama in a previous interview.

“When he applied, I really didn’t think about it. He went online, said it was me and signed up for Chopped Junior.”

Two days later, Melissa would get a call from the show, which is based in New York City, inviting her son to the show.

The teenage chef announced in February that his leukemia had returned and that he would need 12 radiation treatments, followed by chemotherapy

The teenage chef announced in February that his leukemia had returned and that he would need 12 radiation treatments, followed by chemotherapy

He remained optimistic, telling fans he was

He remained optimistic, telling fans he was “ready to fight!”

Goldsmith won the show after making a beer-battered catfish with okra, ingredient guest judge Zachary Quinto from the “Star Trek” movies he had a bad experience with as a kid.

Goldsmith won the star and received a $10,000 prize, which he donated to Birmingham Children’s Hospital’s Department of Hematology and Pediatric Oncology.

“You know, that’s a real piece of okra I ate there, and I really liked it,” Quinto told Goldsmith on the show in 2017.

Goldsmith had made many friends in the food industry, including celebrity chef Guy Fieri and the father of the owner of Southern Ale House in Tuscaloosa, Goldsmith's hometown, Cal Holt, who wrote on Facebook: 'Our collective hearts are broken'

Goldsmith had made many friends in the food industry, including celebrity chef Guy Fieri and the father of the owner of Southern Ale House in Tuscaloosa, Goldsmith’s hometown, Cal Holt, who wrote on Facebook: ‘Our collective hearts are broken’

It wasn’t just Quinto’s hearts and taste buds that he captured, but celebrity chef Guy Fieri and Cal Holt, Justin Holt’s father, who run Southern Ale House in Tuscaloosa, where Goldsmith is from.

The teenage chef frequented the kitchens of Southern Ale House, helped prepare and cook food for customers, and was considered a “little brother” to the restaurant’s head chef Brett Garner.

Our collective hearts are broken. The SAH family lost our beloved and respected Fuller Goldsmith today,” Colt wrote on Facebook.

He spent a lot of time in the… [Southern Ale House] kitchen helps to prepare, serve and create recipes. We will miss his presence, his smile, his laughter, his banter back and forth with Brett, and his eagerness as he battled the aches and pains of a terrible disease. He will be missed, but remembered forever.”

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