Remembering ‘Top Chef' Fatima Ali who lost her battle with terminal bone cancer at the age of 29
On Friday, Fatima Ali from “Top Chef” lost her battle with cancer at the young age of 29. The star had been struggling with terminal bone cancer since 2017.
A tribute was written for the star on the day she passed. She frequently shared her journey with the disease via social media.
Fatima Ali’s life was taken by Ewing’s sarcoma, a terminal bone cancer. This was after she was diagnosed as cancer-free last February.
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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.
The cancer, unfortunately, returned late last year and she was given a year to live. The Season 15 contestant on “Top Chef” posted her last public post about her struggle with the disease on January 11.
“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.”
Alizah Raza shared about Ali’s death writing:
“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. Please recite a special prayer for her and her loved ones. May she rest in power.”
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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
Bruce Kalman, a close friend of Ali’s who competed on the same season as her on “Top Chef” shared his condolences via social media too:
“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.”
So sad to read this! She was such a bright light on Top Chef! 😢— Jody (@JodyMisscolo) January 25, 2019
On Twitter, the Bravo network released a statement to Twitter saying:
“We are deeply saddened to hear the news that Fatima Ali lost her courageous battle with cancer. Our thoughts are with her family and friends at this time. People not only fell in love with her cooking, but fell in love with her personality and heart.”
Rest in Heaven, Fatima Ali. So sorry to hear of this news. My heart goes out to her friends and family. 😥— Mrs. Dick (@CulinaryLover74) January 25, 2019
Ali appeared on “Chopped” in 2012 during an episode that she won. In 2017, she featured on “Top Chef” in an episode that she was well-known for.
There she was named a fan favorite.
This month, after Ali announced that her cancer had returned, her fellow contestants on Season 15 traveled to see her in Los Angeles to lift her spirits. Joe Flamm, Adrienne Cheatham, Tyler Anderson, Bruce Kalman, Tanya Holland, Claudette Wilkins, Carrie Baird, Rogelio Garcia, Chris Scott, Tu David Phu, Joe Sasto, Melissa Perfit, and Laura Cole came from all over the country to support and encourage the ailing star.