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Elizabeth Gilbert on the Death of Her Partner, Rayya Elias

Rayya Elias and Elizabeth Gilbert

Eat, Pray, Love author Elizabeth Gilbert (pictured, right) posted a beautiful photo in June with her partner, Rayya Elias, from what she called their “Ceremony of Love.” The image illustrated the deep bond she had with Elias, who was battling cancer of the pancreas and liver even before they fell in love in 2016. On Thursday, Gilbert wrote a tribute to Elias, who recently passed away, on her social media platforms, according to HuffPost.

“I loved you so much, Rayya,” Gilbert wrote of her partner, who was previously her friend of 15 years. “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.”



In her post announcing their Celebration of Love ceremony, Gilbert wrote: 

Over the last year, Rayya Elias and I have been through some really difficult days together — but not today. Today was precious and perfect. A simple and spontaneous ceremony of love, surrounded by a small handful of friends and family. Our ceremony was nothing legally binding (no need to alert the authorities, folks!)...just a quiet and private celebration of what we have long known to be true: We belong to each other. More difficult days are to come. It doesn't get easier from here. Her illness is grave. But our love is strong. We will walk together as far as we can go together. After that, it all gets turned over to God. Create beauty with every day you are given… 

When Gilbert announced that she was in a romantic relationship with Elias in a post in Sept. 2016, she was forthcoming about the fact that it had precipitated the breakup of her marriage to businessman José Nunes. 

"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,’" Gilbert wrote at the time. "Here is where we stand now: Rayya and I are together. I love her, and she loves me. I'm walking through this cancer journey with her, not only as her friend but as her partner."

On New Year's Day, Gilbert posted a photo with Elias with the caption, "Happy New Year, everyone. You made it. We made it. Blessed be."



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

A post shared by Elizabeth Gilbert (@elizabeth_gilbert_writer) on


Following her Elias’s death, Gilbert wrote of her partner that “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.” 

Elias was a Syrian-born musician and filmmaker and the author of the memoir Harley Loco: A Memoir of Hard Living, Hair, and Post Punk, From the Middle East to the Lower East Side, for which Gilbert wrote the introduction in 2013. 

Tags: People, Women

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