"We had dinner and talked about life, and talked about what she wanted to do, the next steps of her life," Ali tells Giuliana Rancic on tonight's E! News, noting that her first week as an E! correspondent ended up being unforseeably difficult.
"It's hard to see that she wanted to cut [her life] short because she was talking about that she wanted to work with animals, that she really loved that, how she could take that volunteering work and make it a job, that she loved people and wanted to work with people," Ali recalled her conversation with Gia in New York, where they also both attended a Bachelor Nation viewing party.
"She was really, really a special person, and not everybody in the Bachelor family gets along," Ali continued, tearing up as she remembered the Bachelor and Bachelor Pad fan-favorite, "but Gia was one of those people that everyone really loved. It's really sad to think that she was in that much pain."
Ali said that she hopes the biggest lesson to take away from Gia's decision to take her own life at 29 is about how important it is to reach out when you or someone you know seems to be going through a particularly tough time.
"If she had said something to any one of us, we would have been there," she said.
Gia is said to have hanged herself at her New Orleans home on Monday night. She was found by her boyfriend, NBA player Ryan Anderson, who called 911. Doctors took her off of life support yesterday after she suffered a critical loss of brain and organ function.
A funeral is going to be held toward the middle of next week in her native Queens, N.Y.
Ali said that they shared a lot of laughs at the viewing party last week, and that both of them were so excited when they found out they would be seeing each other in New York.
"Everyone there just really, really cared for her, and she really was one of those people that you just wanted to be around," Ali said.
"We had a dinner together, just her and I, just the two of us. "We talked for hours, just about life, and I know there were things she was going through, things that will always remain between me and her—but I didn't see it at all, not at all, and I just wish I had seen something."
"You can't help but play the conversation back in your head over and over and over and wish you could have done something," Ali said. "And knowing how hurt I am and how I feel, I just can't even imagine what she was going through, or her family...So I just hope we remember her for how wonderful she was."