Elizabeth Gilbert Posts Touching Tribute After Partner Rayya Elias Dies.
Elizabeth Gilbert is mourning her partner and fellow author Rayya Elias, who died of cancer aged 57 this week.
The bestselling author of Eat Pray Love shared a tribute to Elias, her friend of 15 years and partner of more than a year, on social media.
“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,” the 48-year-old wrote, alongside a photo of the Syrian-born author, filmmaker and musician.
“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, two months after divorcing from husband of nine years Jose Nunes, Gilbert revealed to her fans that she and Elias were in a relationship.
“I do not merely love Rayya; I am in love with Rayya. And I have no more time for denying that truth,” she wrote.
The women had been “best friends” for years, having met in 2000 when Elias was working as a hairdresser.
However, Gilbert said her feelings shifted when Elias, who penned the memoir Harley Loco: A memoir of hard living, hair and post-punk, was diagnosed with incurable pancreatic and liver cancer.
“In the moment I first learned of Rayya’s diagnosis, a trap door opened at the bottom of my heart … and my entire existence fell straight through that door,” the Big Magic author wrote.
“From that moment forward, everything became about HER. I cancelled everything in my life that could be cancelled, and I went straight to her side, where I have been ever since.
“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.”
The couple celebrated their love in a commitment ceremony in June 2017, surrounded by “a small handful” of friends and family.
“Over the last year, Rayya Elias and I have been through some really difficult days together — but not today,” Gilbert shared on Instagram.
“Today was precious and perfect. A simple and spontaneous ceremony of love.”