According to sources cited by TMZ, Strauss died at around 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018, following a battle with breast cancer. She was 34 years old.
Strauss’ loved ones have since confirmed the news to the gossip rag, stating, “The one blessing was that we were able to show her how loved she was before she passed. She brought so much light to people.”
Fans of Tyra Banks‘ hit reality TV series may remember that Strauss placed in sixth place during its eighth season. The former ANTM contestant previously announced her stage 4 breast cancer diagnosis on Facebook in October 2018. “I was gonna write some long thing but some of you guys deserve to know,” she wrote to her fans at the time. “On October 2nd I was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer. It has aggressively spread throughout my body and is incurable. 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 GoFundMe page had been set up earlier this fall to help pay for Strauss’ medical expenses. At the time of this writing, $19,465 of the $30,000 goal has been raised. According to a post on the website at the time, “At the end of September, Jael became very sick and was diagnosed with aggressive Stage IV Rapidly Progressive Metastatic Inflammatory Breast Cancer. It has metastasized and spread beyond the breast tissue.” The post continued, “She has just begun chemo, but we do not know how things will play out. What we do know is that Jael is putting all of her energy and drive into fighting this insidious disease and can use as much support and love as possible.”
Strauss, who celebrated five years of sobriety in August 2018 following a longtime battle with substance abuse addiction, later revealed that she’d entered hospice care in late November. “First night in hospice,” she wrote in a text-post. “So many things I never knew about life. Or death. So many things.”
After the sad news of Strauss’ passing broke, a number of fans and celebs, including her fellow ANTM alumni, took to social media to share their thoughts and express their condolences. “Guys, I heard about #jaelstrauss passing today and I’m so sad about it,” Jaslene Gonzalez, who won cycle eight of ANTM, tweeted. Adding broken heart and prayer hands emojis, she added, “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.”
Meanwhile, singer-songwriter Joy Villa took to Twitter with, “This just sucks. Please be kind towards one another, we are all going through our own battles! I’m heartbroken to have lost #JaelStrauss at 34 to [breast cancer]. She was a beautiful, big wild soul filled with energy and kindness. I know I’ll see her again.” For his part, Perez Hilton simply wrote, “F**k cancer!!! 34!!! Not fair!!”
As a close friend of Strauss’ told Fox News, “I just want to share that Jael lived a full life and loved everyone she met unconditionally. She was a friend to all and helped hundreds of people find freedom from the pain of addiction.” The friend continued, “She was an advocate for those who were most in need of support. Her love and care knew no bounds and she was, simply put, one of the most incredible people I’ve ever known. She greatly impacted all those who crossed her path.”
According to the most recent post on Strauss’ GoFundMe page, “In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting donations for funeral arrangements and extraordinary final medical expenses. All donations will go solely to these expenses.” The post also paid tribute to the former model’s memory, reading in part, “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 . She will dance at how we celebrate her life by spreading the love that she lived by daily with a reckless abandon. We can honor her best by trying to #lovelikejael … Thank you so much for all the love, support, & prayers through the journey.”
Our thoughts are with Strauss’ loved ones during this difficult time.