Fatima Ali, the fan favorite of the previous season of Bravo's "Top Chef," died Friday after a nearly yearlong battle with cancer, the network said. She was 29.
Ali came in seventh on season 15 but won the Fan Favorite title when the season ended early last year. She was known for her "fun personality and excellent cooking" of food from her native Pakistan, Bravo said.
Ali publicly documented her battle with cancer since being diagnosed at the end of 2017 with Ewing's sarcoma, a type of bone and soft tissue cancer, Bravo said. She had chemotherapy and surgery to remove a tumor and surrounding cells in her left shoulder in January 2018.
Doctors declared her cancer-free about a month later, the network said, but last October, Ali revealed in an online essay that her cancer was "back with a vengeance" and she had a year to live.
"It's funny, isn't it? When we think we have all the time in the world to live, we forget to indulge in the experiences of living," Ali wrote on the website Healthyish. "When that choice is yanked away from us, that's when we scramble to feel. I am desperate to overload my senses in the coming months, making reservations at the world's best restaurants, reaching out to past lovers and friends, and smothering my family, giving them the time that I so selfishly guarded before."
Ali posted pictures of herself during cancer treatment on her Instagram page, sharing her struggle with fatigue even as she flashed a warm smile. She also continued posting pictures of appetizing food, from lamb koftas and kebabs to New York pizza and Korean barbecue.
Her fellow "Top Chef" contestants posted tributes to Ali on Friday. They included chef Bruce Kalman, who wrote, "I will miss you Fati, and you will be in my heart forever. I'll always remember the great times we had."