Author Elizabeth Gilbert chronicled life adventures following the end of her first marriage in Eat Pray Love, which Julia Roberts depicted onscreen in the 2010 film adaptation. Today (September 7) Elizabeth shared a surprising new romantic adventure with fans, but one that arrives with sad news: She and best friend Rayya Elias are "together," but Rayya has also been diagnosed with terminal cancer.

"This spring, I received news that would change my life forever. My best friend Rayya Elias was diagnosed with pancreatic and liver cancer — a disease for which there is no cure," Gilbert wrote on Facebook. Elias is a Syrian-born musician and herself the author of two books. 

Gilbert goes on to write that upon learning of Elias' diagnosis, "a trap door opened at the bottom of my heart (a trap door I didn't even know was there) and my entire existence fell straight through that door. From that moment forward, everything became about HER." 

Describing Elias as her best friend and her "person," Gilbert says "Death — or the prospect of death — has a way of clearing away everything that is not real, and in that space of stark and utter realness, I was faced with this truth: I do not merely love Rayya; I am in love with Rayya."

Gilbert also admits that her realization is what ultimately ended her almost 10-year marriage to Jose Nunes, the end of which she announced in July, according to US Weekly. Javier Bardem played "Felipe," which was Gilbert's pseudonym for Nunes, in Eat Pray Love.

"For those of you who are doing the math here, and who are wondering if this situation is why my marriage came to an end this spring, the simple answer is yes," Gilbert says. 

"So. Here is where we stand now: Rayya and I are together. I love her, and she loves me. I'm walking through this cancer journey with her, not only as her friend, but as her partner. I am exactly where I need to be — the only place I can be," Gilbert states, saying the past few months of privacy have "been an essential period of silence, healing, and incubation for us."

Ultimately, Gilbert asks friends and fans for their understanding and more than that, love.

"Whatever extra love you might be carrying around in your hearts right now, could you direct some this way? I would appreciate it so much, and — trust me — it will be felt. And it will help. We will resonate with it, and we will thank you for it. Because truth is the force that guides us to where we need to be in life, but love is the power that heals us once we arrive there."

Read Elizabeth Gilbert's full note, posted with a photo of a happy Gilbert and Elias, on her Facebook page.

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