Former American Idol contestant Joanne Borgella has lost her battle with cancer.
The 32-year-old plus-size model was diagnosed with endometrial cancer a year ago, according to her family’s Facebook post announcing her death. “Since her diagnosis over a year ago, Joanne made a choice to also be a fighter and share her journey with the world,” read the post.
“Her faith, courage and strength were unshaken throughout every obstacle she encountered.”
A singer and model, Borgella made it to the top 24 on season 7 of American Idol in 2008, three years after appearing on Mo’Nique’s Fat Chance.
She signed with Wilhelmina Models after being discovered at the ESSENCE office and modeled for brands like Ashley Stewart and Macy’s. She also created Joanne Borgella New York, a clothing line for curvy women, and appeared on Curvy Girls, a reality show which airs on NUVOtv.
ESSENCE declared Borgella our “curvy model of the month” in May 2013. Asked what her favorite feature was, Borgella declared, “My personality!”
“I love people and I love who I am—I’m true to that. And I wear my curves with pride,” she said.
Borgella is the second season 7 American Idol contestant to pass away in the past three months. Fellow contestant Michael John passed away on August 4.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Borgella family.