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Fatima Ali, a contestant on the 15th season of Top Chef, died on Friday at the age of 29 after battling bone cancer.
A representative for Bravo, which airs the popular cooking reality show, confirmed the news. “We are deeply saddened to share the news that Fatima Ali has lost her courageous battle with cancer. Our thoughts are with her family and friends at this time,” the statement reads. “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, who had been voted “fan-favorite” on the show, was first diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer, in 2017. According to People, at the time she successfully completed surgery to remove a tumor in her shoulder. But in October of last year, she confirmed in an emotional essay in Bon Appetit that the cancer had returned, and she revealed that her doctors gave her up to a year to live.
In November, Ali appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show to talk about her diagnosis. DeGeneres helped donate $50,000 to a GoFundMe campaign started to help Ali achieve her dreams of traveling and eating at some of the world’s best restaurants.
According to People, at age 18 Ali left Pakistan to study at the Culinary Institute of America in New York. In addition to appearing on the show, she went on to work at restaurants such as Cafe Centro, Macy’s Stella 34 and La Fonda Del Sol.
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