“America’s Next Top Model” alum Jael Strauss, who competed in the eighth cycle of the popular reality series, has died at age 34 after a two-month battle with breast cancer.
Strauss died Tuesday morning, according to a message posted on her official GoFundMe page set up to help cover medical costs.
“Today we lost our earth angel and she is back in the spirit world from which she came and we know she will be watching over all of us,” the message read. “She will dance at how we celebrate her life by spreading the love that she lived by daily with a reckless abandon.”
The reality TV star was diagnosed with aggressive stage 4 breast cancer in October and went public with her health struggles in an emotional post shortly after.
“On October 2nd I was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer. It has aggressively spread throughout my body and is incurable,” she wrote on Facebook. “With treatment it may prolong my life longer than the ‘few months’ doctors said I could make it. I don’t want to die. I need another one of those miracles that I got back in 2013” ― a reference to her overcoming substance abuse that year.
Strauss continued to update fans about her condition, with her last post on Nov. 22 revealing she’d entered hospice care.
“First night in hospice,” she wrote on Facebook. “So many things I never knew about life. Or death. So many things.”
“ANTM” host Tyra Banks has yet to publicly address Strauss’ death, but Jaslene Gonzalez, who competed alongside her and eventually won the competition, remembered her on Twitter Tuesday evening.
Guys, I heard about #jaelstrauss passing today and I’m so sad about it. I wish I could of seen her once more. She was going through a whole lot. We don’t know for what reasons, but man was she one of the strongest I knew. My prayers are with her and her family. 💔🙏🏻— Jaslene Gonzalez (@jaslenegonzalez) December 4, 2018
“I wish I could of seen her once more,” Gonzalez wrote. “She was going through a whole lot. We don’t know for what reasons, but man was she one of the strongest I knew. My prayers are with her and her family.”
Strauss fell on hard times after appearing on the reality TV show, which has launched successful models like Yaya DaCosta and Winnie Harlow. On a 2012 episode of “Dr. Phil,” Strauss revealed she was battling an addiction to methamphetamine.
In that episode, the daytime talk show host staged a hometown intervention for the former model. Strauss later claimed that she was “exploited” on the show for ratings.
Strauss, a Detroit native, got sober shortly after the episode aired. This past August, she celebrated five years of sobriety.
“Today I have 5 years sober. Good God!” she wrote on Instagram. “I know a few things to be true: Miracles are real, Recovery is possible for everyone no matter how far gone you think you are, We are never too broken to be put back together.”
In lieu of flowers, Strauss’ family has asked that fans continue to donate to the GoFundMe page to cover funeral expenses and outstanding medical bills.
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