Former Top Chef star Fatima Ali has sadly passed away.
On Friday, Jan. 25, 2019, the celebrity chef died following a battle with Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare type of bone cancer, Entertainment Tonight reports. She was 29 years old.
“It’s with a heavy heart we say goodbye to Fatima Ali today, as she has lost her battle with cancer,” Ali’s friend and fellow Top Chef alum Bruce Kalman wrote in a tribute on Instagram. “I will miss you Fati, and you will be in my heart forever. I’ll always remember the great times we had, especially our interview during the tailgating episode discussing football, stadiums, and Taylor Swift.”
Ali, who was also close friends with Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi, was first diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma in 2017, according to Us Weekly. After undergoing chemotherapy treatments and having a tumor on her shoulder removed via surgery, Ali initially revealed that she was cancer-free the following February. However, in an essay written for Bon Appétit’s Healthyish in October 2018, she shared, “The cancer cells my doctors believed had vanished are back with a vengeance in my left hip and femur bone.” Revealing that she’d been given one year to live, Ali wrote, “I was looking forward to being 30, flirty and thriving. Guess I have to step it up on the flirting. I have no time to lose.”
Earlier this month, Ali posted another health update on Instagram, writing, “I know it’s been ages since I posted and most may have figured out why. I’m sick and unfortunately I’m getting sicker.” Alongside a snapshot of herself in the hospital, the celebrity chef told her followers, “Right now all I need are prayers; prayers that are simple. I hope, because a wish is putting on too much responsibility on the other, that you will somehow find forgiveness in your big heart for whenever I must have hurt you. I thank you a million times over for when you have given me joy.”
In addition to competing on season 15 of Top Chef between 2017 and 2018, Ali was named a fan favorite during her tenure on the Bravo reality TV series (via TMZ). She was also known for her 2013 appearance on Food Network’s Chopped.
Since the news of her passing broke, a number of Ali’s other fellow Top Chef contestants took to social media to share their thoughts and express their condolences. “You will be forever missed my friend. You brought so much joy to those around you. #ripfatima,” Tyler Anderson wrote, while Tanya Holland shared in part, “I had so many laughs with this beautiful young brown woman! Despite her youth, there was an innate knowing, a maturity, worldliness and sophistication that I deeply appreciated … We were soul sisters.”
Our thoughts are with Ali’s loved ones during this difficult time.