Joanne Borgella, a 2008 American Idol contestant, has died at the young age of 32.
According to her family, Borgella passed away on Saturday, October 18 after fighting a long and hard battle with cancer.
“To God be the glory! With heavy hearts, we are deeply saddened to announce the passing of our beloved Joanne,” her family posted on her Facebook page. “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 post added. “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.”
— CNN (@CNN) October 19, 2014
Three years after appearing on Mo’Nique’s Fat Chance, a competition for plus-sized models, Joanne made it to the top 24 of American Idol’s seventh season.
Since then, Joanne had been focusing on her modeling career and went on to model professionally for Ashley Stewart, Macy’s and Nordstrom. She created her own jewelry line, plus-size clothing line, and appeared on NUVOtv’s original show Curvy Girls.
“All of us at NUVOtv are deeply saddened at the news of Joanne Borgella’s passing,” NUVOtv spokeswoman Diane Castro said. “We are thankful to have known such a courageous woman with a beautiful voice who brought passion, faith and heart to everything she did. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family at this very difficult time.”
Borgella had been documenting her treatments since being diagnosed with throat cancer last year, explaining to her fans that the cancer had spread to her chest. Joanne’s last Facebook post was written on September 23.
“Gooooood morning!! We are heading back to radiation for 2 procedures!! God js with us!! I have lots to fill you in on.. The presence of The Lord is here.. Prayers up!!! I love you guys #GodsGotThis #ThePowerofPrayer #Faith #IWillbeCancerFree2014 #JoanneBorgella,” she wrote.