The singer posted a moving tribute to her fan Monia, who died of cancer this Christmas

By Emily Zauzmer
December 27, 2018 11:45 AM
Monia and Rihanna

Rihanna is grieving a fan who recently died after battling cancer.

The singer, 30, posted a moving Instagram tribute to Monia, a superfan who became a friend to the star. Monia was battling her third bout of cancer, according to her Instagram bio.

“Navy Angels! This Christmas, we lost a beautiful spirit who was such a pillar of strength to us!” Rihanna captioned a sweet snapshot of the duo Thursday, showing Monia flashing a big smile as Rih puckered her lips.

“Most of our friendship she’s spent in a hospital or doctor’s office!” Rihanna continued. “This picture was just a few months ago, she looked at me and said, ‘Rih the cancer is back’ I’ll never forget the fear in her eyes this day!”

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“Still she pushed forward, fighting the fight every day with the Navy behind her supporting her every step of the way! We are all heartbroken about this!!!” she concluded. “You will never be forgotten! Love you my angel @moniasto fly in peace.”

Rihanna and Monia met in June in London. At the time, Monia said on Instagram that “it literally broke my heart” to tell Rihanna that the cancer had returned but that Rihanna was “so caring and supportive.”

“Now y’all know why she’s my fave! I will never ever forget this special night,” Monia wrote. “Flying to london was totally worth it, I had the best time here!!!”

In a video that Rihanna posted of the meet-up, Monia got emotional as she talked to, embraced and posed for a picture with the star.

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Rihanna commented on an Instagram photo that Monia posted in November to wish her well.

“Sis we are all praying for you! Your strength and your ability to let the beauty in your spirit shine through, even in the midst of adversity, is tremendously inspiring!!” Rihanna said. “Thank you for continuing to share your journey with us!”

“I imagine it’s quite a lonely one, hours on end in hospital walls, being scared to even fall asleep because you’re afraid u won’t wake up, feeling like nobody will ever understand that, the physical agony, the medication and all their side effects,” Rihanna added. “I can’t begin to imagine what you feel, so I want you to know we are all here for you and I encourage the NAVY to rally around you during these times! Love you!”

In December, Monia shared a screenshot of the comment and discussed how much it meant to her.

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“I haven’t posted in a while because there was so much going on.. so much pain, so many bad news, just too much. and right in the worst time, she‘s there for me,” Monia wrote of Rihanna, whose full name is Robyn Rihanna Fenty. “this made my day. thank you robyn, for being so real and supportive.”