Fatima Ali: Mourned, Remembered by Fellow Top Chef Stars
As previously reported, Fatima Ali passed away last Friday after a brave battle with cancer.
She was 29 years old.
The beloved former Top Chef contestant had been battling Ewing Sarcoma, a rare type of bone cancer, since 2017 — and she died about four months after doctors told her she had a year or so left to live.
In the wake of this tragedy, a number of ex-reality stars and television personalities who knew Ali well have paid tribute to this late, courageous soul.
We wanted to share some of their thoughts and tributes here…
Fellow Top Chef star Bruce Kalman:
“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.”
Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi:
“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.”
Fellow Top Chef star Claudette Wilkins:
“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.”
Fellow Top Chef star Adrienne Cheatham:
“My heart is broken. Thank you for shining your light and sharing your love and beautiful spirit with all of us.”
Prior to passing away, Ali kept fans apprised of her status on Instagram.
She also sat down for an emotional and revealing interview with Bon Appétit magazine.
It will be published in the next issue of this publication.
“I’m using cancer as the excuse I needed to actually go and get things done, and the more people I share those thoughts with, the more I hold myself to them,” she said in this interview, adding:
“If I write this intention down, if I have it printed somewhere like I do here, I have to hold myself responsible, because I have people counting on me.”
As candid as one can be, she continued:
“What’s my intention? To live my life. To fulfill all those genuine dreams I have. It’s easy to spend weeks in my pajamas, curled up in my bed, watching Gossip Girl on Netflix. I could totally do that.
“And don’t get me wrong, I still watch Gossip Girl. But now I’m doing things. I’m going to eat. I’m making plans for vacations. I’m finding my experimental treatments. I’m cooking. I’m writing.”
In her essay, Also also talks about the emotional effects of chemo, telling the magazine:
“Honestly, until your first chemo cycle, I don’t think it really hits you.”
“Then your hair starts falling out, and finally you’re like, ‘This is actually happening. This is the rest of my life.’ I did eight rounds of chemo. It was horrible, but at the end, my scans were all clear. I thought I’d beaten it.
“Then it came back. Worse than before. It was metastatic. It had spread to my lungs. The doctors told me I had one year to live.”
The former Top Chef contestant briefly went into remission in July — but learned that the cancer had returned in October.
In her final social media post, this is what Ali wrote:
“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 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.”
We send our condolences to the friends, family members and loved ones of Fatima Ali.
May she rest in peace.