30-Year-Old Fan Favorite Top Chef Contestant Passes Away After Battle with Cancer

January 25, 2019Jan 25, 2019

A little three months after revealing that her cancer had returned, cooking show fan favorite Fatima Ali has passed away. She was only 29 years old at the time of her passing. 

The Top Chef alum died on Friday after a battle with Ewing's sarcoma in 2017. In early 2018, she was declared cancer-free, only to find out in September that the rare form of cancer had returned.

Aliza Raza shared the devastating news on Instagram. She spoke about the impact of the Top Chef winner. 

"Fatima Ali (Chef Fati!) and her brave battle with cancer ended today," Raza wrote. "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 with Ali on season 15 of Top Chef, also posted a message following her death.

"It’s with a heavy heart we say goodbye to Fatima Ali today, as she has lost her battle with cancer," he wrote. "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 😘 #f**kcancer #cheffati #topchef #friends #family #itsnotfair"

In October,  Ali revealed that her cancer had returned in an essay. 

The Bravo's Top Chef Season 15 Fan Favorite winner was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma, which a type of bone and soft tissue cancer, in late 2017. At the time, the then 28-year-old fought the cancer.

She went through several rounds of chemotherapy and then underwent surgery to remove the tumor and surrounding cells in her left shoulder in January 2018. At the time, Fatima was declared cancer-free by her doctors.

However, she sadly wouldn't stay cancer free for long. Fatima shared in the essay that she had received bad news from her doctors in September.

"The cancer cells my doctors believed had vanished are back with a vengeance in my left hip and femur bone. My oncologist has told me that I have a year to live, with or without the new chemotherapy regimen," Fatima wrote. "I was looking forward to being 30, flirty, and thriving. Guess I have to step it up on the flirting. I have no time to lose."

Fatima says she isn't going to waste what time she has left on earth. She shared that she'll be eating at every restaurant she can in New York and around the world. She'll also be making amends with people and spending time with loved ones.

"It’s funny, isn’t it? When we think we have all the time in the world to live, we forget to indulge in the experiences of living," mused Fatima. "When that choice is yanked away from us, that’s when we scramble to feel."

She continued, "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 concluded with an observation about how her priorities have changed.

"I was always deathly afraid of being average in any way, and now I desperately wish to have a simple, uneventful life," wrote Fatima.

Fatima also thanked everyone for all of their love and support they have given her during her health battles.

"I just want to take a moment to thank each and every single person who has ever sent love my way," she wrote. "This is my truth."

Please say a prayer for Fatima's family. This is a tragic loss, especially given how young she was when she passed away.