The Devastating Death Of Chopped Junior Winner Fuller Goldsmith

Fuller Goldsmith, a former contestant on both "Top Chef Junior" on Bravo and "Chopped Junior" on Food Network, died after a near lifelong cancer diagnosis. The young and talented chef from Alabama survived cancer four times before his death at age 17 (via Today).

When Goldsmith was just three years old, he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. The young chef first competed on "Chopped Junior" at the age of 14, winning the competition and donating the entirety of his $10,000 prize to the Division of Hematology and Pediatric Oncology at Birmingham Children's Hospital. Goldsmith had to withdraw from "Top Chef Junior" halfway through the season because he became too ill to compete, according to The Kitchn.

In February 2021, Goldsmith shared with fans on Instagram that his leukemia had returned. He wrote, "Unfortunately the news regarding the tumor was not what I was hoping. The same Leukemia is back. The plan is to start proton radiation at UAB as soon as I can....hopefully within the next two weeks. I will have 12 days of radiation and then more chemo to make sure it's gone once and for all. Round 5- I'm ready to fight!" Throughout the rounds of radiation, Goldsmith continued to cook and share his talent on social media.

Top Chef Junior remembers Fuller Goldsmith

Fuller Goldsmith's death was confirmed by Magical Elves, the production company behind "Top Chef Junior" (via Today). The company shared the news and remembered Goldsmith on Instagram with photos from his time on the competition. Magical Elves wrote, "We are devastated after hearing about the loss of our Top Chef Junior alum, Fuller Goldsmith." The post continued saying, "he was an incredible chef and the strongest kid we've ever met. From the minute he was introduced to us, we knew he would make an impact on everyone around him and be a positive force in [the] cooking world. To his family, we give all our love as they mourn the loss of someone truly special."

Goldsmith certainly made an impact on those he worked with on set, as well as viewers. The host of "Top Chef Junior," Vanessa Lachey, commented on the post Magical Elves wrote (via People). Lachey wrote, "We all Loved Fuller so much! And will never forget his contagious smile, laugh and butter tricks. Sending so much Love to his family. We will never forget you Fuller!!" Gail Simmons shared her thoughts as well, commenting "We love you Fuller. Thank you for spending so much time with us. Your love of cooking was contagious and you taught us so much about courage and determination. You are loved and missed, and forever in our hearts."

Fuller Goldsmith's idol Guy Fieri reacts to the young chef's death

Guy Fieri met Fuller Goldsmith a few years ago, and after learning of his death Fieri posted words of appreciation for the young chef on Twitter. "What Fuller accomplished in his life and the example he set for people battling cancer was remarkable," Fieri wrote, signing off with "RIP Fuller Goldsmith." Fieri was Goldsmith's idol, according to The Kitchn. He got his inspiration to cook from watching Fieri on TV in the hospital. Entertainment Weekly arranged for a surprise meeting between Goldsmith and Fieri at the Stagecoach Festival in California. Fieri was impressed at the time with then-14-year-old Goldsmith's courage, in the face of both cancer and those high-stress TV cooking competitions.

Along with the Mayor of Flavortown, the governor of Goldsmith's home state of Alabama also took the time to post a remembrance on Twitter. Governor Kay Ivey noted in her tweet that the young man from Tuscaloosa was only a senior in high school when he died. "He was an inspiration to all who knew him. Prayers for his family and friends," the governor wrote.

Fuller Goldsmith's leukemia is the most common type of childhood cancer

Fuller Goldsmith's disease, acute lymphoblastic leukemia, or ALL, is the most common form of cancer in children, according to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. The survival rate among children is 90%, but the University of Kansas Cancer Center notes that some types of ALL are more fatal than others. In general, according to the St. Jude website, ALL is a condition in which immature white blood cells grow out of control in the bone marrow and crowd out normal white blood cells, making it difficult for patients to fight infections. The cancer can spread to the lymph nodes, liver, spleen, spinal cord, and brain, according to the American Cancer Society.

Goldsmith told his fans on Instagram about his cancer appearing for a fourth time in December 2018 — just days after he had posted about going to a University of Alabama football game with "my fellow cancer-free buddy." This time, Goldsmith said, doctors had found leukemia in his spinal fluid. Before Goldsmith's radiation and chemotherapy treatments this year, doctors had treated the boy's cancer with spinal surgery, a bone marrow transplant, and more chemotherapy, according to Entertainment Weekly

Goldsmith's last Instagram post was about three weeks before his death, showing off a new haircut. After his death, fans found that final post to pay respect to Goldsmith. "RIP chef Fuller," @leigh.isley commented. "I hope you are cooking with the angels."