Turkey’s sweetheart Neslican Tay loses battle with cancer

A 21-year-old university student, who became Turkey’s sweetheart with her brave struggle against cancer she shared on social media, passed away late Friday. 

Neslican Tay, who had her left leg amputated in 2018 during a battle with cancer that came back three times, died while under treatment at the intensive care due to multiple organ failure, pro-government Yeni Şafak newspaper quoted Gazi Yiğitbaşı, head of Medipol Hospital in Istanbul, as saying.

Tay won the hearts of the nation with her unbreakable resilience and spirited social media posts, calling on everyone to embrace life and love themselves.

"Love your life. Love yourself. Love your body. Your soul will not be in another body. Love your hair, your height, your weight. And for me, love your left leg,’’ the Bahçeşehir University student famously said during a moving TedX talk she delivered in 2018.

Tay’s death was met with sorrow in Turkey with celebrities, athletes and leading political figures offering their condolences.

"You are gone but you left behind goodness, determination and hope," Turkey's presidential spokesman İbrahim Kalın wrote on Twitter.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Çavuşoğlu said, "Your struggle and resistance set an example for all of us, your joy of life gave hope to everyone."

Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu and centre-right opposition Good (IYI) Party leader Meral Akşener also conveyed their condolences for Tay.