Influencer Cheyann Shaw has died following her battle with ovarian cancer, which she documented on Instagram with the hashtag #Cheystrong. She was 28.
Her family shared the news with her 220,000 followers on Jan. 4. A smiling photo of the fitness guru was captioned with the note, "With heavy hearts, we are sad to announce that our beautiful girl Cheyann has been called home to heaven."
The page's post continued, "If there's one thing Cheyann taught us is that no matter what battles we face, we can always find a reason to smile through them."
Her mother, Darci Clark, was also quoted in the post, saying, "My heart is breaking today, our baby girl lost her long battle with ovarian cancer. She fought until the bitter end. She is a true warrior and survivor. She will be truly missed and will forever be in my heart."
Cheyann gained fame as a body builder and bikini competitor, before she was diagnosed with stage four ovarian cancer in August 2016 at age 23. She had said she was diagnosed by accident—"but that accident, saved my life."
She recently updated fans of her health progress on Dec. 23, 2020, with a picture of herself in the hospital, smiling with her thumbs up. She said things had been "going well" and she was "in and out of the hospital" with a liver issue, which was "resolved."
The ButterflyNectar blogger explained she had a feeding tube and would start chemotherapy again on Tuesday, Dec. 29. "Your girl needed some help with food lol," she wrote. "[I] should be going home today or tomorrow, just in time for Christmas. Keep the prayers coming and keeping sending all the light."
After her diagnosis in 2016, Cheyann opened up in an interview with People about the bravery it took to fight the disease.
"When I was first diagnosed, I was scared, but it went away quickly. I knew that I had no choice but to fight. I wasn't going to let cancer win," she said at the time. "I also knew that my husband and family need me and there is no way I am leaving them. So that is when I put my boxing gloves on and got in the ring to knock cancer out."
In October of that year, she shared side-by-side photos of herself in her fitness competitions and then with her head shaved. "This time last year, I was on stage competing in my first fitness show Now I'm fighting for my life," the self-described adventurer reflected of her journey. "At the end of the day, my life isn't where I ever expected it to be, but I'm thankful I am where I am."
During her cancer battle, she had to remove her reproductive organs, spleen, appendix and some of her colon in surgeries, according to The Washington Post. Doctors also took out a large tumor in her abdomen that was about the same size as a mini beach ball. She told the outlet, "I decided to document everything right after I got diagnosed because I wanted to show people what cancer does to a body."
The star went on to become an advocate for patients and continued to post recipes and fitness tutorials for her fans, whom she called "beautiful butterflies."
In a YouTube video shared in June 2020, the Florida resident described herself as "a total beach bum!" She explained, "I am a cancer survivor, entrepreneur, kid at heart, fitness lover, and just an all around goofball who laughs at her own jokes lol."
The model said she saw herself as simply a young adult trying to live life to the fullest "while showing the world that no matter [what] you have gone through in your life, it doesn't have to define you and how to find light in the darkness." And P.S., "I may or may not also break into random dances and drink more coffee than humanly possible!"
Cheyann is survived by her "fur baby" (that would be her dog Russell) and her husband Kaleb Shaw, who mourned her death on social media this week. He wrote on Jan. 4, "My heart is broken. I can't imagine my life without her."
The Orlando real estate mogul continued in his tribute, "I know she is in a better place away from the pain and suffering that comes with dealing with cancer. She is my hero, best friend and inspired not only myself, but thousands of people around the world."