Celebrity Chefs Honor Fatima Ali Following Her Death: 'You Will Be in My Heart Forever'
There has been an outpouring of love for Top Chef‘s Fatima Ali after she lost her battle with cancer on Friday.
Following the news of her death, Ali’s fellow contestants from the 15th season of the Bravo competition show have been posting on Instagram with photos and memories of their time with the chef.
The 29-year-old was first diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer, in 2017. She had undergone surgery to remove a tumor in her shoulder bone and had told PEOPLE she was “technically cancer-free” at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen last July. But in October, through an emotional essay for Bon Appetit, Ali revealed that her cancer was back “with a vengeance.”
A representative for Bravo confirmed her passing to PEOPLE: “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. 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.”
Padma Lakshmi, the host of Top Chef, said she would be cancelling her Facebook Live today “due to personal reasons” and many of her followers offered their condolences.
Other chefs posted heartfelt messages and photos with Ali.
Bruce Kalman shared a post on Instagram, writing: “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. 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.”
Chef Brother Luck posted a photo of him and Ali embracing, saying he was “at loss right now of how much this sucks but grateful she’s no longer in pain.”
“God is gaining another angel today and heaven will be full of laughter upon her arrival,” he continued. “She was a queen who carried a heart of gold and my prayers go out to her family. I’m so grateful for the time spent with her and memories we shared. Please cherish the time you have with someone because tomorrow isn’t promised for anyone.”
“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,” chef Claudette Zepeda-Wilkins wrote. “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 contestant Chef Tu David Phu wrote: “I’m struggling to accept your passing. You had so much more to offer. However, there’s one thing I know for sure #god now has another #angel. You are truly an #inspiration. Your strength has taught me so much.”
Last week, many of Ali’s Top Chef friends gathered in Los Angeles to show support during what were some of her final days.
After posing together in a group photo—which included Adrienne Cheatham, Tyler Anderson, Bruce Kalman, Tanya Holland, Claudette Wilkins, Carrie Baird, Rogelio Garcia, Chris Scott, Tu David Phu, Joe Sasto, and Melissa Perfit—many of the former contestants shared the image on Instagram and wrote messages of support to Ali.
“I wish they were under better circumstances that we were together but when one hurts we all hurt and we rally,” Wilkins wrote. “@cheffati is loved beyond belief and we will be here for her and each other.”