Rihanna has gained a reputation amongst her fanbase for being especially kind and willing to connect with them, which makes her latest Instagram posts especially sad. On Thursday, Rihanna shared a tribute to super-fan-turned-friend Monia, who passed away during the holidays after struggling through her third bout of cancer. The pair met in London in June, where Monia told Rihanna about the return of her cancer.
During that meeting, the pair took a selfie together, which Rihanna posted with a heartfelt caption. She addressed her fanbase, known as the Rihanna Navy, in her caption: “Navy Angels! This Christmas, we lost a beautiful spirit who was such a pillar of strength to us! Most of our friendship she’s spent in a hospital or doctor’s office! 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!”
Rihanna also noted Monia’s strength and her impact on the Navy community: “Still she pushed forward, fighting the fight everyday with the Navy behind her supporting her every step of the way! We are all heartbroken about this!!! You will never be forgotten! Love you my angel @moniasto fly in peace.”
Less than an hour later, Rihanna shared a video of the two meeting in June, writing, “Miss you already sis.”
Monia shared several photos and videos on her own Instagram when she and Rihanna met in June, noting in one caption, “Now y’all know why she’s my fave! I will never ever forget this special night. Flying to London was totally worth it, I had the best time here!!!”
For the last six months, she’s chronicled her third fight against cancer on her Instagram, receiving supportive comments from her followers, which included Rihanna. In November, the star left a particularly long and encouraging comment on one of Monia’s posts, which she reposted on Dec. 4 to talk about how much it meant to her.
Rihanna wrote, in part, “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!! Thank you for continuing to share your journey with us!”
In her response to the comment, Monia wrote, in part, “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. this made my day. thank you robyn, for being so real and supportive. and thanks to everyone else who is supportive in any way, every comment, every dm, every prayer – I appreciate it so much.”
This is a sad loss for everyone in Monia’s life, including Rihanna and her fans who have followed Monia on her journey. We’re glad that she at least seemed to have so much love and support in her final months.