The Eat, Pray, Love author announced Elias’ death on Instagram on Thursday. Elias, an author and songwriter, was diagnosed with pancreatic and liver cancer in 2016, the same year that Gilbert and Elias announced their relationship to the public.
“I loved you so much, Rayya. Thank you for letting me walk with you right to the edge of the river. It has been the greatest honor of my life,” Gilbert wrote. “I would tell you to rest in peace, but I know that you always found peace boring. May you rest in excitement.”
In 2016, Gilbert wrote in a Facebook post that she divorced husband José Nunes to be with her longtime friend following Elias’ cancer diagnosis. The couple held a private commitment ceremony in June 2017.
“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 wrote in her post on Thursday.