The new year got off to a sad start for one of our most cherished writers. Eat, Pray, Love author Elizabeth Gilbert lost her partner, whom she credited as her muse and her rock star. Rayya Elias, born in 1960, was suffering from both pancreatic and liver cancer before she died.
Gilbert has been public about her relationship with Elias, which started up shortly after Gilbert and her husband — whom fans became acquainted with in Eat, Pray, Love — split up after 12 years together. She told social media that she was in love with Elias, whom she first labeled as being her best friend, just three months after her marital split. According to a post that she wrote up on Facebook, Gilbert noted that she realized her love was something more after Elias got her diagnosis. The two were together throughout her entire battle.
“Something happened to my heart and mind in the days and weeks following Rayya’s diagnosis,” Gilbert initially wrote. “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.”
Gilbert’s recent tribute to her friend and romantic partner was just as touching. In it, she says she’ll always love her.
We want to send our love to Gilbert during this difficult time and thank her for showing us what true love is really all about.