Rayya Elias, Partner Of “Eat, Pray, Love” Author Elizabeth Gilbert, Dies At 57

Gilbert called their relationship "the greatest honor of my life."

On her Instagram, Elizabeth Gilbert, author of popular books like Eat, Pray, Love and Big Magic, announced the sad news that her partner, Rayya Elias, had passed away following a battle with pancreatic and liver cancer. She was 57.

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“She was my love, my heart, my best friend, my teacher, my rebel, my angel, my protector, my challenger, my partner, my muse, my wizard, my surprise, my gift, my comet, my liberator, my rock star, my completely impossible non-cooperator, my otherworldly visitor, my spiritual portal, and my baby,” Gilbert captioned the photo on Instagram.

“I loved you so much, Rayya. Thank you for letting me walk with you right to the edge of the river. It has been the greatest honor of my life. I would tell you to rest in peace, but I know that you always found peace boring. May you rest in excitement. I will always love you.”

In September 2016 Gilbert announced she had fallen in love with Syrian-born musician and filmmaker Elias, a woman who has been her best friend for 15 years. Elias had recently been diagnosed with pancreatic and liver cancer and Gilbert wanted to share her journey “not only as her friend, but as her partner.”

My heart. My phoenix. ❤️

A post shared by Elizabeth Gilbert (@elizabeth_gilbert_writer) on

“Death—or the prospect of death—has a way of clearing away everything that is not real, and in that space of stark and utter realness, I was faced with this truth: I do not merely love Rayya; I am in love with Rayya. And I have no more time for denying that truth,” Gilbert wrote on Facebook.

“The thought of someday sitting in a hospital room with her, holding her hand and watching her slide away, without ever having let her [or myself!] know the extent of my true feelings for her… well, that thought was unthinkable.”

Last year Gilbert announced the two held a commitment ceremony dedicated to “what we have long known to be true: We belong to each other.”

“Over the last year, Rayya Elias and I have been through some really difficult days together—but not today,” said Gilbert. “Today was precious and perfect. A simple and spontaneous ceremony of love, surrounded by a handful of friends and family.”

Happy New Year, everyone. You made it. We made it. Blessed be. #2018

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Just days before Gilbert made the sad announcement of Elias’ passing, she posted a picture of her with Elias wishing everyone a happy New Year:

“You made it. We made it. Blessed be.”

I write about drag queens. Dolly Parton once ruffled my hair and said I was "just the cutest thing ever."