Fatima Ali Dies: ‘Top Chef’ Season 15 Fan Favorite Was 29

NBCUniversal via Instagram

Fatima Ali, whose Pakistani-influenced cooking earned her the “Fan Favorite” title in Season 15 of Bravo’s Top Chef, has died today of bone cancer. She was 29. Her family shared the news in a statement to the Pakistan newspaper Dawn. and it was confirmed by the network.

“We are deeply saddened to share the news that Fatima Ali has lost her courageous battle with cancer,” Bravo said in a  statement. “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.”

Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi posted a touching video tribute to Ali, which started with “Goodbye Lil’ Sis.”

Ali was diagnosed in 2017 with Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer. She underwent surgery and was cancer-free for a time but revealed last fall that it had returned, this time lodged in her left hip and femur. At that time, she said she was told she had a year to live.

Two weeks ago, Ali gave an update on her failing health on Instagram. “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. 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.”

Ali left her Pakistan home at age 18 to study at the Culinary Institute of America in New York. Her restaurant résumé included Cafe Centro, Macy’s Stella 34 and La Fonda del Sol. She aspired to open her own restaurant someday.

“I love the thought of being able to open up a restaurant that opens up people’s eyes to what Pakistani food could be in America,” she told People magazine in July.

Ali’s friends reacted online to her death. Last week, many of them gathered in Los Angeles to pay tribute to her, posing in a group photo that included Adrienne Cheatham, Tyler Anderson, Bruce Kalman, Tanya Holland, Claudette Wilkins, Carrie Baird, Rogelio Garcia, Chris Scott, Tu David Phu, Joe Sasto and Melissa Perfit.

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Season 15 strong. . #wegetbywithalittlehelpfromourfriends #season15 #bravotopchef #topchef #forfati #fatimaali #cheffati #teamfati #chefchrisscott #huffposttaste #beautifulcuisines #eeeeeats #forkyeah #grateful #thankful #blessed #inspired #love

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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

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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

A post shared by Bruce Kalman (@chefbkalman) on

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My heart is heavy today with news of the beautiful @cheffati passing away from her battle with cancer this morning. I’m at a loss right now of how much this sucks but grateful she’s no longer in pain. God is gaining another angel today and heaven will be full of laughter upon her arrival. She was a queen who carried a heart of gold and my prayers go out to her family. I’m so grateful for the time spent with her and memories we shared. Please cherish the time you have with someone because tomorrow isn’t promised for anyone……. 👸🏽 👩🏽‍🍳

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This article was printed from https://deadline.com/2019/01/fatima-ali-dies-top-chef-15th-season-winner-and-fan-favorite-was-29-1202542029/