Top Chef's Fatima Ali died at age 29 earlier this year, after she was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer

By Helen Murphy
August 09, 2019 11:42 AM
Padma Lakshmi; Fatima Ali
Michael Loccisano/Getty; Tommy Garcia/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty

Padma Lakshmi is remembering her friend Fatima Ali.

On Thursday, what would have been Ali’s 30th birthday, Lakshmi shared a sweet video of the Top Chef star dancing and lip-syncing along to “Colors of the Wind” from Pocahontas.

“Happy Birthday Fati- wherever your spirit is I know you’ll be eating something yummy,” Lakshmi, 48 wrote.

Ali died at age 29 earlier this year, after she was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer. Many of her fans, followers and colleagues also left messages on her personal Instagram account on Thursday.

“Happy birthday Fati, grateful for every day I got to be apart [sic] of it ❤️,” fellow Top Chef star Joe Flamm wrote, while Top Chef‘s Melissa King left a row of rainbow heart emojis.

“Oh, that Lioness! I miss her roar!” chef Tanya Holland added.

“Happy Birthday, beautiful!! Cheers to you on this day and everyday!” Top Chef star Adrienne Cheatham wrote.

RELATED: Top Chef‘s Fatima Ali Dies at Age 29 After Battling Rare Form of Bone Cancer

On Ali’s birthday, The Samfund — an organization that provides support to young adults who are struggling financially due to cancer — announced that they would be renaming one of their awards in honor of the chef.

“On what would have been Chef Fatima Ali’s 30th birthday, it’s our privilege to announce that our Annual Celebration’s Award is officially renamed as the Chef Fatima Spirit Award,” an Instagram post from The Samfund read.

“She joined us as a featured chef at last year’s celebration and connected immediately to our work and community,” the post continued. “With Fatima and her family in our hearts, it is truly an honor to be able to continue her legacy of compassion and adventure through this award.”

RELATED: Late Top Chef Star Fatima Ali’s Family Honors Her by Embarking on Her Dream Culinary World Tour

Ali 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 in July 2018.

But in October, through an emotional essay for Bon Appetit, the chef revealed that her cancer was back “with a vengeance,” and that doctors told her she had about a year left to live.

Sadly, a representative for Bravo confirmed her death to PEOPLE in January. “We are deeply saddened to share the news that Fatima Ali has lost her courageous battle with cancer,” the statement read.

“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.”

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