Fatima Ali's boss died on Friday at age 29, her family confirmed in Instagram. Ali was selected as a "favorite fanfare" at the 15th season of the Bravo Culinary Show. She is ranked seventh in the race.
Her family writes in Instagram:
Fatima was at home with us, surrounded by our loved ones and my favorite cat, Mr. Miu, when we left in the early hours of the morning. When someone as bright and young as our Fati passes, the only metaphor that seems to be appropriate is that of a star – a lighthouse in the dark, a light that leads us to make desires from which to dream dreams. For all the comforts and beauty they offer, the stars are also inconsistent. This morning a big one was dropped.
Although she is no longer here with us, her spirit will continue to guide us. We hope you will also listen to her lessons: Live your life as he has done – to the fullest. Continue your passion; disseminate love and joy; be good and simple; be generous; enjoy every bit of fun – from modest street food to terrific exquisite cuisine; cook for the people you love. Travel around the world and seek adventure. Help others and do not be afraid to take the least bit of a way. Fatima will always be part of us and if you look deep enough, you can find your inner Fati. If you're lucky to find her there, believe her, listen to her because it will change your life for the better.
We learned a lot about the course of her illness, not just pragmatic lessons that we did not want to learn about her illness and our health system, but also about the great love people are capable of; for the power to be true to yourself; about how we can be better if we are modeled after someone like her.
We want to thank everyone from the bottom of our current broken hearts. We are eternally grateful for the endless support, love and generosity shown by people on our way – by strange strangers who have crossed the street who would tell her how much they admire and respect; to all of her doctors and nurses who have done their best; chefs and friends of hospitality, who are now part of our extended family; and the big wigs that have come to see how they can make her dreams a reality. It was a really humble experience for all of us, and even in her last chapter when she left us, Fatima showed us how we should live.
In January 2018 Ali passed chemotherapy and surgery for Ewing's sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer. In September, Ali revealed that the cancer had returned. The doctors told her she had metastasized and she had left a year to live. In an essay on Good Appetite, Ali writes:
The cancer cells that doctors thought disappeared returned with revenge to my left thigh and femur. My oncologist told me I had a year to live with or without the new chemotherapy regimen. I was looking forward to being 30, flirting and thriving. I suppose I have to make him flirt. I do not have time to lose.
Ali said he wanted to spend the rest of his time in dishes at the world's finest restaurants. Fans and friends shared their condolences and memories with Ali on Twitter.
Farewell lil. One of our brightest stars has fallen from the sky …. I have no words, but here are some of hers: "I'm dreaming to be better. I dream of being myself again, but I know I will never be the same, and that's good. I look forward to meeting this woman one day. pic.twitter.com/JThpUIbtk7
– Padma Lakshmi (@PadmaLakshmi) January 26, 2019
Today, with a heart of heart, we say goodbye to Fatima Ali, as she has lost her battle with cancer. I will miss Fati, and you will be in my heart forever. I will always remember the great amount of time we had, especially our queue interview … https://t.co/GYTQWMwfvT pic.twitter.com/72uWNxL3g8
– Bruce Kalman (@chefbkalman) January 25, 2019
We are deeply saddened to hear the news that Fatima Ali has lost her brave battle with cancer. Our thoughts are about her family at that time. People not only fell in love with her cooking but fell in love with her person and heart. ???? pic.twitter.com/pKoZG7BDIk
– Chef of Bravo (@BravoTopChef) January 25, 2019
I will share some words that Batima Fatima Ali said to me: "Life is short and unstable and you must embrace it in full force." A wonderful philosophy of a vibrant, talented woman. RIP, Chef Fati.
– Tiffany (@MissTiffanyTiff) January 25, 2019
Ufxh, cancer. RIP of my beloved best chef rival ever, chef Fatima Ali. She was so great. pic.twitter.com/OvnKjUyvSk
– Vince Mancini (@VinceMancini) January 25, 2019