American Idol Season 7 alum Joanne Borgella Ramirez died on Saturday following her yearlong battle with a rare case of endometrial cancer — a type of cancer that attacks the inner lining of the uterus.
Borgella’s family announced the news of her death via her official Facebook page on Saturday.
“To God be the glory! With heavy hearts, we are deeply saddened to announce the passing of our beloved Joanne,” the family’s emotional statement read. “On Saturday, October 18, 2014 at 5:45AM, Joanne Borgella Ramirez was called by the Lord to heaven.”
“At an early age, Joanne made a choice to serve and trust the Lord; and since her diagnosis over a year ago, Joanne made a choice to also be a fighter and share her journey with the world,” the family’s message continued. “Her faith, courage and strength were unshaken throughout every obstacle she encountered. Although our family is suffering with this great loss, we find comfort in the closeness Joanne shared with the Lord. We know her spirit still shines and will continue to live on in heaven.”
The family’s statement went on to read that condolences would be welcomed, and they called for people to educate themselves about endometrial cancer and support research efforts.
Borgella was just 32 years old at the time of her death, and her struggle with cancer was a public one. The singer last updated her Facebook page in September, telling fans she was headed back to the hospital for radiation for two procedures.
Borgella was a talented singer and model, and she was the first winner of Mo’Nique’s Fat Chance in 2005 — a reality TV miniseries in which plus-size women competed in a beauty pageant to be crowned “Miss F.A.T.” In 2008, she auditioned for Season 7 of American Idol and managed to make it into the top 12 girls category.
Our thoughts are with Borgella’s family and friends during this very sad time.