American Idol alum and model Joanne Borgella died on Oct. 18, 2014, from a year-long battle with endometrial cancer.
People's reporting that American Idol alum Joanne Borgella died of endometerial cancer Saturday morning, Oct. 18.
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In her last Facebook post dated Sept. 23, the singer seemed hopeful on beating the cancer, even using the hashtag #IWillbeCancerFree2014. The update indicated she was "heading back to radiation for 2 procedures."
But she wasn't only a singer. The 32-year-old was a veteran reality star after appearing on Oxygen's Mo'Nique's Fat Chance in 2005 and TV'S MADE as coach in 2011. Signed with Wilhelmina Models, she was the face of Torrid, as well as working with Ashley Stewart, Wal-Mart, and Kohls. She also appeared on covers of Plus Model Magazine, who offered the family sympathy as well as reminiscing on what made her stand out.
It is with our deepest condolences that we mourn the passing of our own Joanne Borgella. Her smile and brightness, compassion and courage will always be remembered. She has been an inspiration to us all. May she rest in peace.
And recently, Procter & Gamble used Borgella’s image as one of the faces for the "My Black is Beautiful" campaign, an effort to show the diversity and beauty of African-American women.
Breaking barriers by being confident in personal individuality, she encompassed the overall message of the campaign and helped to “shine a spotlight on the universal struggle most black girls and women have with beauty and self-confidence.”
With bright smile and awareness lighting dark eyes, Brogella exuded every facet of self-love and self-confidence. And the strength that comes with finding an individual voice in a society looking to label everyone in a single box. Joanne Borgella excelled as an advocate for self-confidence.
Winning the Mo'Nique contest and earning the title "Miss F.A.T" wasn't her first brush with fame, however. The Long Island native's father ran for Haitian president in 2006. And she previously worked with Wyclef John. Eliminated on American Idol in February 2008, she continued in the entertainment industry.
Most recently, she starred on NuvoTV's Curvy Girls, which documented "four full-figured beauties who won’t let anything get in the way of their success" in the professional modelling world. She also released the single "Sake Bitch" in 2012.
TMZ adds that the cancer Borgella had been fighting for the past year progressed into a rare form, since it traveled up her chest. At the end of her life, she complained of headaches and a trip to the ER confirmed the cancer had spread to her brain.
The America Cancer Society notes that endrometrial cancer is rare in women under 45 (with roughly, a 1 in 4 chance of diagnosis), and black women are more likely to die from disease. Little information was available on the official site, but nearly 600,000 women have survived.
Borgella's family updated her Facebook page with the news of her death. Opening up on how they are choosing to view her, you see the deep bond of love.
"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.” Adding that “her faith, courage and strength were unshaken throughout every obstacle she encountered. We know her spirit still shines and will continue to live on in heaven."
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And using the moment to remind people how important education is in treatment and research of cancer. “If you feel so inclined, we hope you'll take the time to educate yourselves on Endometrial Cancer and support research efforts.”