Talia Castellano, the 13-year-old who touched millions with her public battle with cancer, has passed away.
"It is with a heavy heart that we share with all of you that Talia has earned her wings at 11:22am," her family posted on Facebook. "Please lift her beautiful soul, her beautiful light to heaven and please send your love and prayers to her family during this most difficult time. God speed little one, may you be free from pain and suffering, may your soul feel the light and love that you brought to so many of us on this Earth during the short time you were here with us. We will miss you more than you will ever know baby girl."
When she was only 7-years-old, Talia was diagnosed with an aggressive Stage 4 neuroblastoma that was treated with chemo and drifted in and out of remission. In the summer of 2012, however, the cancer spread to her bones and she developed pre-leukemia. By then, however, she was an Internet sensation - having turned into a "professional, YouTube Makeup Guru;" refusing to wear a wig and instead inspiring others with her tips on how to look their best sans hair.
One of her dreams was to use her makeup talents on Ellen DeGeneres, a wish the comedian granted in September 2012. Naturally, Ellen - a Covergirl rep for several years now - had a surprise for Talia.
"CoverGirl heard your story and they want to make you an honorary CoverGirl," Ellen revealed, presenting a giant portrait of Castellano posing for the makeup brand, in addition to a $20,000 check.
"I am inspired by people like yourself. I think there are a lot of people who go through a lot of struggling situations, and despite what the doctors have said and the cancer you're going through, how do you stay so positive?" she asked.
"When people ask me that, what do you want me to do, be depressed? I mean a little fishy told me, 'Just keep swimming, just keep swimming!'" Talia responded, referring to Ellen's character Dory in Finding Nemo.
After hearing the news of her passing yesterday, DeGeneres took to Twitter to mourn the loss of "her friend."
Thinking of my friend. http://t.co/ibKVOrDVm7— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) July 16, 2013
This year I met a very special girl, and today we lost her. Sending my heart to Talia's family. I'm so sad.— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) July 16, 2013
Esi Eggleston Bracey, CoverGirl Vice President and General Manager, also released a statement saying: "We are honored to have known Talia and grateful for all the ways she showed us what true beauty means. She inspired millions with her strength, personality and talent. Talia has touched our CoverGirl family forever, and we're thankful to have been a part of her life. "Our hearts go out to her family and friends during this difficult time."
In a video posted last year, Talia shared with fans why she was not going to pursue future treatments saying: "Having cancer has been a gift, yet a horrible, horrible terrifying thing," she said. "But I've gotten so many benefits from it ... having a YouTube channel and having to inspire people and having people look up to me and explaining to you guys how I adore and love makeup — using it as my wig — and having so much self-confidence and going out to the grocery store without a wig. It's amazing but the journey of having cancer was amazing but every journey has an end."