We are deeply saddened to hear the news that Fatima Ali lost her courageous battle with cancer. Our thoughts are with her family at this time. People not only fell in love with her cooking, but fell in love with her personality and heart. 🧡 pic.twitter.com/pKoZG7BDIk— Bravo's Top Chef (@BravoTopChef) January 25, 2019
"On behalf of the entire [Bravo Top Chef] family, we are deeply saddened to share the news that Fatima Ali has lost her courageous battle with cancer," the statement read. "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."
Ali died Friday at age 29. In 2017, after filming Top Chef Season 15, Ali was diagnosed with Ewing's sacroma, a type of bone and soft tissue cancer. She underwent several rounds of chemotherapy and was declared cancer free in February 2018. However, in September 2018, she learned the cancer returned.
"The cancer cells my doctors believed had vanished are back with a vengeance in my left hip and femur bone," she wrote in an October 2018 essay for Healthyish. "My oncologist has told me that I have a year to live, with or without the new chemotherapy regimen. 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."
In her final message to fans, posted on Instagram on Jan. 10, she asked for prayers and thanked fans for their support.
"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," she wrote at the time, alongside a hospital selfie. "I thank you a million times over for when you have given me joy. I'll try to keep everyone updated the best that I possibly can."
Ali hoped to spend her final days eating at restaurants she always dreamed of going to and thought about writing a book. In November 2018, she made her final television appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, with DeGeneres giving her $50,000 so she could dine at the restaurants of her dreams.
The week before her death, Ali reunited with the rest of the Top Chef Season 15 competitors. Although she did not win the top prize, she was voted that season's fan favorite chef.
"I will miss you Fati, and you will be in my heart forever," co-star Bruce Kaplan wrote on Instagram Friday. "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."
Bravo provided a link to donate to the Sarcoma Foundation of America, which raises funds to find a cure for sarcoma.
"We are so saddened to hear the news of Fatima Ali's passing," the foundation tweeted Friday. "She inspired so many as she fought Ewings Sarcoma. Our thoughts are with her family and friends."