Elizabeth Gilbert, the author behind the blockbuster memoir Eat Pray Love, has announced the death of her partner Rayya Elia, who had been fighting incurable pancreatic and liver cancer since 2016.
In an announcement posted to her Instagram, the author wrote: “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 honour of my life.”
Gilbert went public with her relationship in 2016 following Elia’s diagnosis, describing that their 15-year friendship turned romantic that same year, and caused the break-up of her marriage to businessman José Nunes, who informed the “Love” chapter of her successful memoir.
“I do not merely love Rayya; I am in love with Rayya,” she wrote in a Facebook message at the time. “And I have no more time for denying that truth. For those of you who are doing the math here, and who are wondering if this situation is why my marriage came to an end this spring, the simple answer is yes.”
She added: “I’m walking through this cancer journey with her, not only as her friend, but as her partner. I am exactly where I need to be — the only place I can be.”