Who is Ali Rafiq? Why the 'Vanderpump Rules' cast is mourning him

Wondering about Ali Rafiq? 'Vanderpump Rules' stars Ariana Madix, Tom Sandoval and more are posting in honor of the late photographer

VANDERPUMP RULES -- "Reunion" -- Pictured: (l-r) Ariana Madix, Andy Cohen
(Image credit: Nicole Weingart/Bravo)

Who is Ali Rafiq? Vanderpump Rules devotees might be wondering exactly who that is after several cast members of the hit Bravo reality show posted about him the weekend of May 20. 

There has been a lot of loss in season 10 of Vanderpump Rules, not only of Ariana Madix and Tom Sandoval's decade-long relationship in the midst of Tom and Raquel's infidelity but also the loss of the former star's grandmother and her dog, Charlotte, as fans saw in the Vanderpump Rules finale

And now it seems like Madix and Co. have had to say goodbye to yet another important being in their lives. But who is Ali Rafiq and what is his connection to the Pump Rules cast? Here's what we know. 

Who is Ali Rafiq? 'Vanderpump Rules' friend dies

Ali Rafiq was a Pakistan-born, St. Louis-based photographer who was close friends with several Vanderpump Rules personalities, including Ariana Madix, Kristen Doute and Tom Sandoval, the latter of whom had known Rafiq since childhood. 

According to a funeral announcement, Rafiq died due to organ failure at 41 years old on Friday, May 19. Upon news of his passing, Madix, Sandoval and Doute posted tributes to their late friend on social media. 

Madix posted several photos of herself and Rafiq on her Instagram Stories, captioning one of the posts: "I keep wanting to text you. It feels like this can't even be real. We were just planning your trip to LA. Talking about our futures and all the things we were looking forward to. I miss our talks about life. I miss sending each other cat memes. I miss geeking out over food, or dj videos. I miss you bringing your turntables over. I miss us both wanting to go home but still staying out and having fun. I miss cut copy and chromeo sons."

"I miss you @alispacerafiq and while you won't be seeing this, I'm hoping somehow this makes it to you," Madix continued. "I love you always and forever. I'm grateful for the moments we spent together and for the love and friendship you showed me over the last ten years. You are so loved and you are so missed. I am proud to be able to say I know Ali the Great. Because you ARE and will always be the greatest."

Ariana Madix and Ali Rafiq in an Instagram Story by Madix

(Image credit: Instagram/Ariana Madix)

Ariana Madix and Ali Rafiq in an Instagram Story by Madix

(Image credit: Instagram/Ariana Madix)

Former Vanderpump star Kristen Doute also honored Rafiq on the social media platform, posting a photo of herself with the late photographer: "This photo is probably 15 years old. I love you so much, you’ve always been family, and it hasn’t fully hit me that you’re gone. 💔😭"

"Words are so hard right now… We had plans in motion for the future. I am so lucky to have been able to call you one of my closest friends. 🕊️ I’ll miss you every single day, Ali. Every ounce of love & prayers I have to the Rafiq family and to all of our friends who loved him so much. Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji'un," she wrote, the latter sentence of which translates to "We belong to Allah and to Him we shall return," a Muslim prayer for Rafiq. 

“The love I have for you is way beyond words I will carry u forever in my heart,” wrote Sandoval in his own post. “Always cherishing the beautiful memories, uncontrollable laughter, and epic experiences we had together. You were My best friend, my brother. I’ll catch u on the next sunrise.”

Ariana Madix and Tom Sandoval will next be seen in the Vanderpump Rules reunion special, which airs on Bravo on Wednesday, May 24. And here's everything we know so far about Vanderpump Rules season 11

Christina Izzo

Christina Izzo is the Deputy Editor of My Imperfect Life. 

More generally, she is a writer-editor covering food and drink, travel, lifestyle and culture in New York City. She was previously the Features Editor at Rachael Ray In Season and Reveal, as well as the Food & Drink Editor and chief restaurant critic at Time Out New York

When she’s not doing all that, she can probably be found eating cheese somewhere.