After competing on Top Chef, Ali was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma and underwent surgery at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in January 2018. After undergoing chemotherapy, she was initially declared cancer-free, and in April 2018, she cooked in public at the Pebble Beach Food and Wine Festival. However, in October 2018, in a personal essay published by Bon Appétit, Ali reported that her cancer had returned and become terminal. She died at her family's home in San Marino, California on January 25, 2019, at the age of 29. Family and friends laid her to rest in Lahore on February 1, 2019. In April 2019, Ali was posthumously awarded a James Beard Foundation Award for her essay.