Fatima Ali, the fan favorite chef from season 15 of Bravo TV’s “Top Chef,” passed away from bone marrow cancer on Jan. 25.
The television star was first diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer—Ewing’s Sarcoma—two years ago, according to People.
Ali’s family confirmed that she had lost her battle against the bone marrow cancer, according to the Pakistani newspaper Dawn.
In a long post that was posted to her Instagram page and written by her family, Ali’s final moment were shared with the world.
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Fatima was at home with us, surrounded by her loved ones and beloved cat Mr. Meow, when she left us in the early hours of the morning. 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. For all the comfort and beauty they offer us, stars, too, are impermanent. This morning a great one was snuffed out. Though she’s no longer here with us, her spirit will continue to steer us. We hope that you, too, will listen to her lessons: Live your life as she did—to the fullest. Pursue your passion; spread love and joy; be kind and forgiving; be generous; enjoy every morsel—from humble street food to decadent fine dining; cook for the people you love. Travel the world and seek out adventure. Help others and don’t be afraid to take the road less taken. Fatima will always be a part of us, and in fact if you look deep enough, you may find your own inner Fati. If you’re lucky enough to find her there, trust her, listen to her, because she will change your life for the better. We’ve learned a great deal over the course of her illness, not only pragmatic lessons we wish we hadn’t needed to learn about her disease and our health system, but about the immense love of which people are capable; about the power of being true to yourself; about how we can be better if we model ourselves after someone like her. We want to thank everyone from the bottom of our now broken hearts. We’re eternally grateful for the unending support, love, and generosity shown by people along the way—from random strangers we passed on the street who would tell her how much they admire and respect her; to all her doctors and nurses who did their best; the chefs and hospitality friends who are now part of our extended family; and the big wigs that reached out to see how they can make her dreams a reality. This has been a truly humbling experience for us all and even in her last chapter as she began to leave us, Fatima showed us how we should live.
“Fatima was at home with us, surrounded by her loved ones and beloved cat Mr. Meow, when she left us in the early hours of the morning,” the post read.
“When someone as bright and young and vivacious as our [Fatima] 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.”
A number of culinary friends also took to social media to express their condolences and their sympathies for the “Top Chef” star. Bruce Kalman, one of the contestants in the 15th season of the show, also expressed sadness over her passing on Instagram.
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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. I’ll always remember the great times we had, especially our interview during the tailgating episode discussing football, stadiums, and Taylor Swift. Much love, Bruce ???? #fuckcancer #cheffati #topchef #friends #family #itsnotfair
“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 [Fatima], and you will be in my heart forever,” the post read.
Fatima Ali joined “Top Chef” back in 2017 when she wanted to share her culinary expertise with the world. After she left the show—placing her at seventh in the season—she started experiencing pain in her shoulder, according to Bravo.
In an interview with Denver Post’s Allyson Reedy for the Know, Ali was asked about the cancer and the pain during shooting, and she told the media she felt fine during filming. It was only after that she started experiencing pain.
“I felt totally fine, no pains or aches in my shoulder. It was pretty much after the show that I started experiencing an ache. Then it got worse,” she said.
She was diagnosed right around the end of 2017 and underwent several rounds of chemotherapy in order to treat the cancer.
After chemotherapy, she then underwent surgery to remove the tumor as well as surrounding cells on her shoulder on Jan. 16, according to The Know. She posted a picture on Instagram and wrote that she would be undergoing the procedure at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
“Going in for surgery today to get that tumor out of my left shoulder. Feeling content knowing I have so many well wishers and prayers from all around the world,” the post read.
One of the hosts of the Bravo show, Padma Lakshmi, who happened to be one of Ali’s idols in the culinary world, went to see her in the hospital. She called on the fans in a post on her Instagram page to send prayers for Ali’s surgery.
“I’d love it if everyone joins me today in saying a special prayer for our @cheffati who went into surgery a couple hours ago. She was in good spirits when we walked her into OR, and am hoping for a great outcome today,” Lakshmi wrote.
Ultimately the surgery was a success, and with the tumor removed, she felt well enough to attend a Food & Wine Classic in Aspen in July 2018. At the event, she told PEOPLE that she was “technically cancer-free.”
However, in a turn of events, the cancer returned, and this time, it was much harsher than the first round. In an article she wrote for BonAppetit, she said that the cancer cells that the doctors had believe was gone—removed during the surgery—were “back with a vengeance in my left hip and femur bone.”
Then her oncologist gave her more devastating news—she had one year to live, with or without the chemotherapy treatment. It was then that she decided that she was going to embrace it and live out her life to the fullest—doing all the things she had always longed to do.
“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,” she wrote.