Elly Mayday, a body-positive model who publicly documented her battle with ovarian cancer, died at the age of 30, nearly six years after she was first diagnosed with the disease.
It took three years for the Canadian-born star, whose given name is Ashley Luther, to be diagnosed with stage 3 cancer in 2013, and she became an advocate for raising awareness for the disease.
Instead of stepping away from the spotlight, Elly spoke openly about her struggles and proudly showed off the cancer surgery scars on her stomach in both personal social media photos and professional shoots.
Heartbreaking: Model Elly Mayday, pictured in 2017, died of ovarian cancer at the age of 30
Inspiration: Elly, whose given name is Ashley Luther, has publicly documented her cancer journey on social media. She shared this photo of herself in the hospital in January
At the time of her diagnosis, she had two modeling contracts offered to her, and she quit her job as a flight attendant to start working as a professional model.
Elly saw modeling as an opportunity to help others who are battling ovarian cancer and show them that they are still beautiful.
‘I figured that maybe I could help someone going through something similar, while continuing on with my own dreams,’ she told the Regina Leader-Post in 2016.
‘I mean, I was going through it either way, why not make it as positive as possible?’
Months after her diagnosis, Elly dyed her hair teal — the color for ovarian cancer awareness — before losing it.
Role model: Over the years, she has opened up about her surgeries, injections, and fatigue, all while showing gratitude and love for her body
Keeping positive: When she lost her hair to chemotherapy in August 2018, after suffering a relapse the year before, she took to media to ‘show women that bald is beautiful’
Over the years, she has opened up about her surgeries, injections, and fatigue, all while showing gratitude and love for her body.
After believing that she had beaten cancer, she suffered a relapse in 2017, and she continued to post about her experience.
When she lost her hair to chemotherapy in August 2018, she took to media to ‘show women that bald is beautiful.’
‘Our beauty comes out if we accept the changes we must face and allow ourselves to just embrace our differences,’ she wrote. ‘My beauty doesn’t come from my hair, no, my beauty comes from within.’
Elly’s journey has resonated with thousands of people, and she has developed a large social media following thanks to her candid posts.
Tragic loss: Elly’s family shared this picture to announce her death on her social media pages. The model died on Friday, March 1, at at 5:14 p.m.
Heart-wrenching: In the moving post, they thanked her fans for their ‘constant support and love’
Looking back: It took three years for the Canadian-born star to be diagnosed with stage 3 cancer in 2013. Months later, she dyed her hair teal — the color for ovarian cancer awareness
Beautiful: Elly proudly showed off the cancer surgery scars on her stomach in both personal social media photos and professional shoots
Elly passed away on Friday, March 1, at 5:14 p.m. Her family announced her death on her social media pages in a moving post that thanked her fans for their ‘constant support and love.’
‘Ashley was a country girl at heart who had a passion for life that was undeniable,’ they wrote. ‘She dreamed of making an impact on people’s lives.
‘She achieved this through the creation of Elly Mayday which allowed her to connect with all of you. Her constant support and love from her followers held a special place in her heart.’
At the end of the post, the family encouraged Elly’s fans to share their ‘positive thoughts and memories’ in the post’s comments section.
Goal: Elly, who is pictured in May 2018, used her platform as a model to raise awareness for ovarian cancer
Amazing woman: Elly saw modeling as an opportunity to help others who are battling ovarian cancer and show them that they are still beautiful
Mourning: Plus-size model Tess Holliday, 33, paid tribute to Elly on her Instagram page
‘This has hit me hard. Ashley who is 20 years younger than me, got ovarian cancer just 3 months before I did,’ one person wrote. ‘She had the strength to go public with her story and journey and she became a role model, model and spokesperson for ovarian cancer awareness.
‘I followed her right from the beginning of my own ovarian cancer journey and her positivity and authenticity gave me great strength to face my own challenges.’
‘Elly impacted my life more than she will ever know, your beautiful girl saved my life,’ someone else explained. ‘After watching her on a morning program here in Australia I sought that second.. third .. fourth opinion instead of giving up, I’m now 3yrs in remission and owe that to you Elly.’
Plus-size model Tess Holliday, 33, paid tribute to Elly on her Instagram page.
‘Heartbroken @elly.mayday thank you for your friendship & love. You were always an angel on the earth, & now you’re one forever #onehellovawoman,’ she wrote.