Singer and Model, Joanne Borgella, Dies at 32

Joanne Borgella‘American Idol’ contestant, Singer and Model, Joanne Borgella died at the age of 32 after a battle with endometrial cancer on Saturday, Oct. 18. Joanne publicly announced to her fans that she had been diagnosed with throat cancer and that it had spread to her chest. She documented her treatments and visits to the doctor on her facebook page. Her family made the grievous announcement to her fans via her facebook page.

“With heavy hearts, we are deeply saddened to announce the passing of our beloved Joanne,” the family wrote. “On Saturday, October 18, 2014 at 5:45AM, Joanne Borgella Ramirez was called by the Lord to heaven. 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. 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 competed in Oxygen Network’s ‘Mo’Nique’s Fat Chance’, a competition for plus size models, in season one which aired in 2005. After winning the competition Borgella was sign to the 10/20 division of Wilhemina Models. Three years later, in 2008, Joanne left the modeling contract with Wilhemina Models to audition for the singing competition show ‘American Idol’. She successfully completed the shows “Hollywood Week” portion of the competition making the top 12 girls and rounding off the top 24 final contestants of that season, but was eliminated shortly after making the top 24 following the performance of the Dionne Warwick song ‘I Say a Little Prayer’. Although eliminated from the show Borgella never regretted pursuing her dream, music had always been her passion.

After ‘American Idol’ Borgella continued to Model appearing for brands such as Ashley Steward, Macy’s, Khol’s and Nordstrom department stores and appeared in featured advertisements in Seventeen and Essence, among others. She also became the face of “My Black is Beautiful,’ a campaign geared towards African American woman by Procter & Gamble. In 2011 Borgella appeared as a coach on MTV’s Made. And most recently, in 2013, she joined the cast of NUVOtv’s hit show Curvy Girls.

“All of us at NUVOtv are deeply saddened at the news of Joanne Borgella’s passing. We are thankful to have known such a courageous woman with a beautiful voice who brought passion, faith and heart to everything she did. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family at this very difficult time,” NUVOtv spokeswoman Diane Castro said.

The Brooklyn born Haitian-American was raised in a religious home and God was the main focus of her life. As a result she was always humble about her success. Even remaining positive after her stage 4 diagnoses in September 2013 and despite the rounds of chemotherapy, radiation treatments and the devastating news that the cancer had spread her faith and strength never faltered. “God’s got this,” her brothers remember her saying.

Joanne Borgella is survived by her husband, Alex Ramirez whom she married in Manhattan on December 28, 2013; her two brothers, Joel, Jean and Jerald Borgella; her father, Joel Borgella Sr., and mother, Paule Danielle Ford-Borgella.

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