Top Chef star Fatima Ali lost her battle with cancer on Friday. According to Us Weekly, the 29-year-old has been struggling with Ewing’s sarcoma, a terminal bone cancer, since 2017. She was diagnosed as cancer-free in February of 2018, only to find that the disease had returned late last year. At that point, she was given a year to live.
Ali was open about her fight, sharing frequent updates and discussing the challenges she was facing on social media.
“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,” she wrote in her last post on January 10.
Alizah Raza shared the news of Ali’s passing on her Instagram account.
“Fatima Ali (Chef Fati!) and her brave battle with cancer ended today,” Raza captioned her post. “Known for her win on Top Chef, but even more for her dynamic personality and hilarious wit, the young chef inspired thousands across borders. Please recite a special prayer for her and her loved ones. May she rest in power.”
Bruce Kalman, who competed on the same season as Ali on Top Chef, also posted a tribute to Chef Fati.
“I will miss you Fati, and you will be in my heart forever,” he wrote.
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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 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. I’ll try to keep everyone updated the best that I possibly can.
Earlier this month, a group of chef competitors from Top Chef came from all around the country — some from as far as Alaska — to boost Ali’s spirits. Chef Tanya Holland said at the gathering that Ali was the “glue” that held the season’s contestants together. Rogelio Garcia said that the group was like a family.
Top Chef judges Padma Lakshmi, Tom Colicchio, Gail Simmons, and Graham Elliot have all showed support for Ali as she battled the disease, as well. Lakshmi has been by the contestant’s side throughout the fight. Colicchio praised her positive attitude after receiving her terminal diagnosis, and Elliot said it reminded him to live life to the fullest. Simmons called Ali a warrior.
After receiving her terminal diagnosis, Ali wrote an op-ed for HealthyIsh in which she says that she planned to make the most of the time she had left. She said that she planned to eat at the best restaurants and to indulge her senses. She pursued this goal by eating at decadent places like the sushi restaurant Masa, which boasts a 2-hour, $600 meal.
Ali appeared on the 15th season of Top Chef, and was voted fan favorite.