‘Eat Pray Love’ Author Elizabeth Gilbert’s Partner Dies at 57: Read the Writer’s Moving Message

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Elizabeth Gilbert and Rayya Elias
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Elizabeth Gilbert is mourning a painful loss in the New Year. The Eat Pray Love author took to social media to announce that her longtime love, Rayya Elias, died this week. She was 57.

In a lengthy, heartfelt post, Gilbert praised her partner, whom she previously credited as being the reason for the end of her marriage in 2016.

“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,” Gilbert, 48, wrote. “I loved you so much, Rayya.”

Calling their time together “the greatest honor of my life,” Gilbert concluded, “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.”

Gilbert first announced her relationship with Elias in September 2016 after Elias was diagnosed with pancreatic and liver cancer, an incurable disease. The news came months after her split from her husband, Jose Nunes, whom she famously wrote about in her bestselling book, Eat Pray Love, which went on to become a moving starring Julia Roberts.

“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 wrote of her relationship with Elias at the time.

Gilbert and Elias celebrated the New Year together earlier this week with a sweet photo, which Gilbert captioned: “Happy New Year, everyone. You made it. We made it. Blessed be. #2018.”

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Dear Ones: 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, Onward, LG (And thank you, @bindleandkeep, for putting a rush on @rayyaelias's suit, and for hand-delivering it yesterday. She looked beautiful. Thank you for the grace, the care, and the compassion. You are good people.)

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In June, the couple shared a “ceremony of love,” which Gilbert explained wasn’t legally binding, but “just a private celebration of what we have long known to be true: We belong to each other.”

For more on the couple’s romance, watch the clip below.

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