Model and reality star Jael Strauss died on December 4, 2018, which was two months after her progressive metastatic inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) diagnoses. She was 34.
This was confirmed by Strauss’s official fundraising GoFundMe page. On the page, Sarah Covey wrote, “In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting donations for funeral arrangements and extraordinary final medical expenses.”
“All donations will go solely to these expenses,” the statement continued. “At the very least , please simply share this post and ask others to do the same so we can get it across the world.”
Rare, aggressive and fast growing, IBC is a type of breast cancer in which cancer cells infiltrate the breast’s skin and lymph vessels. No distinct lump or tumor can be felt and isolated within the breast but symptoms start to appear when the breast cancer cells start the lymph vessels, according to the National Breast Cancer Foundation.
Depending on whether cancer cells have spread to nearby lymph nodes only or to other tissues also, IBC is either stage 3 or 4 disease at diagnosis. Strauss’s condition was stage 4 when she was diagnosed.
Hailing from Detroit, Michigan, Strauss competed in “America’s Next Top Model” Season 8, which aired on The CW from February 28, 2007 to May 16, 2007. She finished sixth.
Strauss was friends with her fellow “ANTM” Season 8 alum Renee Alway, 32. The latter also suffered from drug addiction and was sentenced to 12 years in prison on December 10, 2014 after pleading guilty to four felony burglary counts, among others.
“We’re both lesbians,” Strauss said of herself and Always in an interview with Too Fab in 2016. “We were both closeted and we both had drug problems. We spent some time together and got a real relationship. I’ve been in contact with her sister as well as her since she’s been incarcerated. We just support each other.”
It was Jaslene Gonzalez who won “ANTM” Season 8. She took to Twitter to pay tribute to Strauss.
Years after “ANTM” Season 8, Strauss suffered from drug addiction. In 2012, she appeared on “Dr. Phil” after her family staged an intervention for her drug use.
In August 2018, Strauss celebrated the fifth anniversary of her sobriety. On November 22, 2018, she spent her first night in a hospice.
Here is the interview with Strauss when she was more than three years sober: