American Idol alum Joanne Borgella passed away Saturday (Oct. 18) at the age of 32 after her year-long battle with a “rare case” of cancer.
Borgella’s family shared the sad news on her Facebook page, saying the singer died around 5:45am. “With heavy hearts, we are deeply saddened to announce the passing of our beloved Joanne,” the post read. “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. Her faith, courage and strength were unshaken throughout every obstacle she encountered.”
In 2008, Borgella made it into the Top 24 on season 7 of A.I.. She was also crowned the first winner of Mo’Nique’s Fat Chance, a competition for plus-size models, in 2005 and appeared on NUVOtv’s Curvy Girls as well as MTV’s Made. She was also a model for Ashley Stewart, Macy’s and Nordstrom.
According to her family, Borgella was struggling with endometrial cancer, a form of cancer that attacks the lining of the womb. She documented her progress via social media, revealing on YouTube that the cancer had spread to her chest. In September, she shared on Facebook that she would be undergoing two more radiation procedures.
“Gooooood morning!! We are heading back to radiation for 2 procedures!! God js with us!!,” she wrote on Sept. 23. “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”