Fatima Ali’s ‘Top Chef’ Family Pays Tribute After Her Death
Fatima Ali has died after a battle with cancer. The Top Chef alum opened up about her terminal diagnosis last November, telling Ellen DeGeneres she had been diagnosed with a rare type of bone cancer called Ewings Sarcoma and given only a year to live. On Friday, January 25, her family confirmed that the 29-year-old had passed away at home, “surrounded by her loved ones and beloved cat Mr. Meow.”
Sharing a collage of photos of the young culinary talent, her family described her as “young and vivacious” and encouraged all of her followers and fans to “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.”
The outpouring of love from Ali’s Top Chef family has been nonstop. Host Padma Lakshmi shared a heartbreaking video and wrote, “Goodbye lil’ sis. One of our brightest stars has fallen from the sky… I have no words, but here are some of hers: ‘I dream of being better. I dream of being myself again, but I know I’ll never quite be the same, and that’s okay. I know I’ll be different, and, despite the worry that settles into me every time I wake up, I look forward to meeting that woman one day.'”
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Goodbye lil’ sis. One of our brightest stars has fallen from the sky.... I have no words, but here are some of hers: “I dream of being better. I dream of being myself again, but I know I’ll never quite be the same, and that’s okay. I know I’ll be different, and, despite the worry that settles into me every time I wake up, I look forward to meeting that woman one day.” #teamfati
A post shared by Padma Lakshmi (@padmalakshmi) on
Nearly all of season 15’s contestants and judges — including Laura Cole, Chris Scott, Adrienne Cheatham, and Tyler Anderson — followed suit, sharing fond memories and beautiful snaps. “She was beautiful inside and out,” Rogelio Garcia wrote. Brother Luck called her “a queen who carried a heart of gold.”
Claudette Zepeda-Wilkins addressed Ali directly. “My dearest Fatima,” she wrote. “This is how I will remember you till my time on earth is done. I will remember the hours on end we spent in the kid pool (the damn scratches) or the hot tub playing Never Have I Ever. Hearing you talk about your mom with so much love and wishing my kids would speak the same of me one day. Falling asleep talking about life/boys/dreams. Sweet dreams our Pakistaní princess, the pain is over.”
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My dearest Fatima, this is how I will remember you til my time on earth is done. I will remember the hours on end we spent in the kid pool (the damn scratches) or the hot tub playing Never Have I Ever. Hearing you talk about your mom with so much love and wishing my kids would speak the same of me one day. Falling asleep talking about life/boys/ dreams. Sweet dreams our Pakistaní princess, the pain is over. #forfati #fuckcancer
A post shared by Claudette Zepeda-Wilkins (@claudettezwilkins) on
Bruce Kalman proclaimed, “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.” Finally, winner Joe Flamm thanked Ali “for gracing my life, meeting my son, being my friend, and letting me into your incredible existence, I’ll miss you more than you can know. Until I see you again, I’ll keep a bottle of whiskey and a coffee cup ready for you.”
Ali shared what would be her final post on January 10, telling fans, “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… 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.”
Rest in peace, Fatima.
(photo via Paul Trantow/Bravo)
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