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Maddy Baloy, 26-year-old who documented her terminal cancer journey on TikTok, dies

Baloy shared posts on TikTok that juxtaposed her emotional struggle with her experience and her hopeful pursuit of the life she had left.
/ Source: TODAY

Maddy Baloy, a prominent TikTok creator who shared her terminal cancer journey through heartfelt videos and stories, has died at the age of 26.

The family of the content creator, who previously worked as a kindergarten teacher in Florida, confirmed she died on May 2 to NBC News. She was surrounded by her parents and fiancé, the family said.

“Madison was much like her mom and would light up (the) room whenever she came in,” her father, Lucky Talmage, told NBC News. “Regardless if you knew Madison for five minutes or five years, she created a special bond with people that she encountered. She was truly special to us.”

“Cancer really has the ability to break you wide open and it definitely leaves a lot to be revealed. One of the things that it revealed about Madison was, not only her strong will and ability to push through the most severe pain, again and again, but it really reflected on just her character,” said her mother, Carissa Talmage. “She continued to use her comedy, her ability to joke, to get through some of the most horrifying events that any parent should ever have to watch their child go through.”

Her mother added, “Even when she was getting sick, nothing would stay down, her body was rejecting everything — food, water, she still couldn’t help but try to make everybody else around her feel comforted and safe. Despite what she was going through, to give you a smile, to give you a feeling of belonging and being safe with her around.”

Baloy's followers became familiar with her diagnosis of stage four terminal cancer, which she received at the beginning of 2023.

In a post shared to her Instagram page, Baloy recalled how the stomach pain she first experienced in the summer of 2022 worsened by February 2023, leading to an ER visit. There, doctors discovered a sizable mass in her large intestine, as well as cancerous tumors.

The creator brought users into her cancer journey by sharing posts on TikTok that juxtaposed her emotional struggle with her experience and her hopeful pursuit of the life she had left.

Carissa Talmage described her daughter as having been “born for something greater than I think anything in this world had to offer.”

“She stood out, just the way that she thought and processed life.”

“I was so glad that she found a way to allow others to see that,” she remarked about Baloy’s TikTok following, which had ballooned to over 452K followers.

In March 2024, Baloy posted her final video on her page.

The nearly two-minute long post, viewed over 2.5 million times, shows her explaining that in addition to having undergone a colostomy, her cancer had metastasized to the lower half of her body. By that point, Baloy had cancer in her large and small intestines, her colon, uterus and ovaries. She tearfully explained that fear and shame had prevented her from taking a bath since her colostomy placement a year prior but expressed her resolve to overcome it while on a trip to Japan.

"After I had my colostomy place, I just figured that I'd never take a bath again out of fear of making a mess," she explained. "But I'm in Japan for a very limited amount of time and I'm here, I'm on Earth for a very limited amount of time and I don't want to be afraid to take a bath. So come take a bath with me."

Users also watched Baloy as she pursued various goals on her bucket list. She once shared a video saying that one dream had been to meet the British celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay, and it was a dream she was able to realize. In February, she confirmed that she had a chance to meet the restaurateur in person.

"The biggest honor and the coolest night of my whole entire life," she wrote in a caption of a video post shared to the page showing her dancing with Ramsay in a kitchen. "And for everyone who made this happen; I love you!"

Following news of her death, Ramsey shared the video of them dancing in the kitchen, along with a heartfelt message.

"I’m truly at a loss for words by the sad news we received today about the loss of @madison," he wrote. "She was kind, fun and a true inspiration to me and my three girls. Knowing we were able to make one of her dreams come true will always be cherished by me. She’ll always be my first & last dance in the kitchen and never forgotten. Sending all our love to her fiancé and family."

Baloy's bucket list included 18 items she wanted to check off including climbing a mountain and dancing in a DJ booth.

In the comments section of her final post, fans expressed their regret that she had been unable to complete her list.

"I literally was crying bc I wanted her to complete her list," one user commented. "Rest in peace sweet girl."

"Rest in peace sweet angel," another added. "You will be so greatly missed, thank you for sharing your hard fought journey with us."