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(NEW YORK) — Former “Top Chef” star Fatima Ali has died after a battle with a rare form of cancer, Ewing’s sarcoma.
She was 29.
A statement was posted to Ali’s Instagram account Saturday, stating that she died at home while surrounded by her loved ones and cat, Mr. Meow.
“When someone as bright and young and vivacious as our Fati passes, the only metaphor that seems to fit is that of a star—a beacon in the darkness, a light that guides us, on which to make wishes, from which to weave dreams,” the statement read. “For all the comfort and beauty they offer us, stars, too, are impermanent. This morning a great one was snuffed out.”
Ali’s friend, Alizah Raza, also posted the sad news on Instagram.
“Fatima Ali (Chef Fati!) and her brave battle with cancer ended today. Known for her win on Top Chef, but even more for her dynamic personality and hilarious wit, the young chef inspired thousands across borders,” Raza wrote. “Please recite a special prayer for her and her loved ones. May she rest in power.”
Bruce Kalman, who competed on Ali’s season of “Top Chef,” added, “It’s with a heavy heart we say goodbye to Fatima Ali today, as she has lost her battle with cancer. I will miss you Fati, and you will be in my heart forever.”
Ali made waves this past October when she penned a heartbreaking essay for Bon Appetit, revealing that the cancer she battled in 2017 had returned “with a vengeance.” She was told she had about a year to live at the time.
In the candid piece, she spoke about upgrading her life and living it to the fullest with the time she had left.
“It’s funny, isn’t it?” she writes. “When we think we have all the time in the world to live, we forget to indulge in the experiences of living … I am desperate to overload my senses in the coming months, making reservations at the world’s best restaurants, reaching out to past lovers and friends, and smothering my family, giving them the time that I so selfishly guarded before.”
And even as she was enjoying “knowing that I can finally live for myself, even if it’s just for a few more precious months,” she admitted that she was frightened of what was to come.
“There’s a faint feeling deep inside my gut like a rumble of passing air, ever expanding and filling slowly until, one day, I’ll pop,” she added. “I was always deathly afraid of being average in any way, and now I desperately wish to have a simple, uneventful life.”
Her last post on Instagram was earlier this month, where the brave woman wrote, “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. Right now all I need are prayers; prayers that are simple … I thank you a million times over for when you have given me joy. I’ll try to keep everyone updated the best that I possibly can.”
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