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/ Source: TODAY
By Drew Weisholtz

Former “Top Chef” contestant Fatima Ali has died. She was 29.

Chef Bruce Kalman, who was friends with Ali, broke the news on Instagram Friday afternoon.

"It’s with a heavy heart we say goodbye to Fatima Ali today, as she has lost her battle with cancer,” Kalman wrote. “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."

The Bravo "Top Chef" family also confirmed that Ali, whose friends and fans called "Chef Fati," had passed in a statement to TODAY: “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.”

Ali, who appeared on the 15th season of Bravo’s hit reality show, was first diagnosed with a rare type of bone cancer, known as Ewing’s sarcoma, in 2017. Last spring, she revealed that doctors had declared she was cancer free — but in September, she learned it had returned and that she only had one year to live.

Following the return of her cancer, Ali remained in the public eye and was often visited by friends from the culinary community.

In November, she appeared on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” where she said she hoped to travel and dine at some of the best restaurants in the world with the time she had left. DeGeneres surprised her with a check for $50,000 from Shutterfly to help her achieve that dream.

Fans and other celebrity chefs also jumped to her aid after Ali penned an emotional essay for Bon Appetit.

Ali last updated her Instagram page on Jan. 10, when she gave fans an update on her worsening condition.

"I know it’s been ages since I posted and most may have figured out why," she wrote. "I’m sick and unfortunately I’m getting sicker. Right now all I need are prayers; prayers that are simple. I hope, because a wish is putting on too much responsibility on the other, that you will somehow find forgiveness in your big heart for whenever I must have hurt you.I thank you a million times over for when you have given me joy. I’ll try to keep everyone updated the best that I possibly can."

Since the news of Ali's passing broke, dozens of fans have taken to her Instagram to share their condolences with the chef's family.