'Top Chef' Star Fatima Ali Dies at 29
"I will miss you Fati, and you will be in my heart forever," posted Bruce Kalman, a close friend and fellow contestant on Season 15.
Top Chef Season 15 alum Fatima Ali has died at 29 after a months-long struggle with Ewing's sarcoma, a type of cancer that affects the soft tissue around bones. Bruce Kalman, a chef and friend of Ali, posted a tribute to the late chef on his Instagram account on Friday afternoon.
"It’s with a heavy heart we say goodbye to Fatima Ali today, as she has lost her battle with cancer," wrote Kalman. "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."
Bravo confirmed in a statement that Ali had "lost her courageous battle with cancer," writing, "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. We hope that the beautiful memories shared with her will provide comfort to everyone who knew and loved her."
The news comes just over one week after Ali updated her fans about her declining condition on Instagram, asking for prayers.
"I know it’s been ages since I posted and most may have figured out why," she wrote. "I’m sick and unfortunately I’m getting sicker. Right now all I need are prayers; prayers that are simple."
Ali went public with her diagnosis in late 2017 and continued to be open about her struggle with terminal cancer, posting photos from treatments on Instagram and even speaking with Ellen DeGeneres after she learned that she only had one year to live. In October, she published an essay on Bon Appétit about her decision to live her final months to the fullest.
"When we think we have all the time in the world to live, we forget to indulge in the experiences of living," she wrote. "When that choice is yanked away from us, that’s when we scramble to feel. 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."
To help raise money for her bucket list adventures, fellow Top Chef contestant Adrienne Cheatham launched a #TeamFati GoFundMe campaign to support Ali's travel and medical costs.
This article was updated at 5:38 p.m. on Friday, January 25 to include Bravo's statement.