Former “American Idol” contestant Joanne Borgella, 32, died Saturday. The singer and model had been fighting endometrial cancer for a year. Her family announced her death on her Facebook page. “To God be the glory! With heavy hearts, we are deeply saddened to announce the passing of our beloved Joanne,” the post read.
Borgella announced her diagnosis in a video on her Facebook page in October 2013. “It’s very unexpected,” she said. “I’m 31 years old, go to the doctor, gotten checkups. It’s a rare case because it’s spread to my chest. You know, many people have asked me that I told already, loved ones and friends, what stage am I on, and it’s really not about a stage because God is with me and I feel his presence every day.”
With the announcement of her death, Borgella’s family members encouraged fans to learn more about the disease. “If you feel so inclined, we hope you’ll take the time to educate yourselves on Endometrial Cancer and support research efforts,” they said in their post.
Endometrial cancer is a cancer in the endometrium, the lining of the uterus, according to the Mayo Clinic. The causes of the disease are unknown, but risk factors include no previous pregnancies, hormonal changes and obesity, the Mayo Clinic noted. Its website also pointed out any spreading of the cancer can make treatment difficult.
Many cases are confined to the uterus, which allows for its surgical removal. However, Borgella’s cancer had already spread to her chest by the time she was diagnosed, so she went through radiation and chemotherapy. She kept fans updated on the whole process via social media, and in April she took to Facebook to tell fans the cancer had also spread to her brain.
While the singer was best known for making it into the Top 24 during “American Idol” Season 7, she appeared in many other reality-television shows, including “MADE,” “Mo’Nique’s Fat Chance” and “Curvy Girls” Season 2, E Online reported. Wilhelmina Models represented her throughout her modeling career, and she had a clothing line, according to her Facebook page.