American IdolSeason 7 contestant and plus-size model Joanne Borgella has died from a rare form of cancer.
The Long Island, New York, native was 32 and had been battling endometrial cancer, which she revealed in a video a year ago had "spread to her chest." The news of her death was confirmed by her family on her Facebook page on Saturday.
"With heavy hearts, we are deeply saddened to announce the passing of our beloved Joanne. On Saturday, October 18, 2014 at 5:45AM, Joanne Borgella Ramirez was called by the Lord to heaven," the post reads. "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. 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."
Borgella, who was living in Hoboken, New Jersey, at the time of her 2008 audition for Idol, made it all the way to the top 24, but was eliminated after a performance of "I Say a Little Prayer."
Prior to her stint on the Fox singing show, she was the winner of Mo’Nique’s Fat Chance pageant as “Miss F.A.T.” in 2005. A Wilhelmina model, she was also featured as a cast member on the second season of Curvy Girls on NUVO TV.
American Idol musical director Michael Orland offered his condolences on Twitter, writing, "So sorry to read about the passing of @JoanneBorgella. She was one of those special people that came through the @AmericanIdol doors. RIP."
It has been a sad year for the Season 7 cast. Top 10 finalist Michael Johns passed away this August.