The Top Chef family is in mourning after the death of Season 15 chef Fatima Ali. The 29-year-old was voted Fan Favorite of Top Chef: Colorado, but shortly after she was eliminated in 2017 she was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer called Ewing’s Sarcoma. Fati had surgery to remove a tumor in early 2018, and over the summer she said she was technically cancer free. But Fati's cancer returned in the fall and she revealed she was terminal. Tragically, she died Friday, January 25.
Top Chef fans, judges, and past competitors have reached out on social media to mourn their friend. Host Padma Lakshmi had given a hopeful update on Fatima Ali in early 2018. On Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen, she said the tumor and surrounding cancer cells had been removed and Fati was cancer free. Padma and Andy Cohen even discussed bringing Fati back to Top Chef for another season, after her Week 9 elimination in Season 15.
Sadly, that was not to be, but Padma Lakshmi was quick to honor her beloved "lil' sis" Fatima Ali:
Fatima Ali's fellow Season 15 competitors shared love as well. Here's Bruce Kalman remembering Fati:
Top Chef 15's Brother Luck also shared a tribute:
Top Chef: Colorado's Claudette Zepeda-Wilkins shared a photo with Fatima on Instagram, remembering the better days:
Judge Tom Colicchio shared Bravo's statement honoring Fatima Ali.
Many others in the Top Chef family and beyond have reached out. As People noted, several Top Chef alumni gathered last week in Los Angeles to honor Fatima Ali, knowing she was down to her last days.
It's clear Fatima Ali packed a lot of life into her brief 29-year stay on this planet. She will be dearly missed.
Top Chef Season 16, Top Chef: Kentucky, is now airing Thursdays on Bravo and fans can probably expect a tribute of some kind to Fatima Ali. Bravo already posted a tribute to her on the official site. Here's what else is airing on TV in midseason 2019.
Gina grew up in Massachusetts and California in her own version of The Parent Trap. She went to three different middle schools, four high schools, and three universities -- including half a year in Perth, Western Australia. She currently lives in a small town in Maine, the kind Stephen King regularly sets terrible things in, so this may be the last you hear from her.
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