On Sunday, Mariah Carey posted a mysterious tribute to a woman named Larissa Podermanski on social media, noting that her heart was “shattered” upon hearing of the woman’s passing. Carey did not give further details regarding Podermanski, merely a photo, and her condolences to the family.
So, who was Larissa Podermanski? As it turns out, Carey’s tribute was a rare, heartfelt outreach to a fan with a sad backstory.
Podermanski, an avid admirer of Carey’s who got engaged in 2015 at one of the singer’s concerts, heard shortly after her engagement — and settling into a new home with her fiancé — the devastating news that she had stage II breast cancer. Her prognosis rapidly grew worse, progressing to terminal, stage IV metastatic breast cancer.
Podermanski refused to lose her bright outlook, however. Determined to live life to the fullest, she married her fiancé on a Connecticut beach just six days after receiving the ominous diagnosis. She additionally started a blog, Metastatically Speaking, to document her journey and challenges navigating cancer treatment.
Another thing she kept up? Her long-standing desire to meet Carey in person. She, along with hospital staff and friends, created a lighthearted video in December 2016, singing Carey’s holiday hit “All I Want for Christmas Is You.”
The video was created with the intention of grabbing Carey’s attention, which it did. Podermanski found herself meeting Carey at her 2016 Christmas show in New York City. The singer spent 15 minutes with Podermanski backstage, listening to her story and admiring her fortitude.
“She said I had a really strong energy … she said she can see that I have a lot of strength in me,” Podermanski told the Hartford Courant.
Sadly, Podermanski did not have much more time. A little under a year and a half later, she would pass away on May 10 at the age of 32.
“You died knowing how much love and kindness, beauty and perseverance, courage and brilliance, feistiness and passion, you left us with,” her family noted in her obituary.
“I’m grateful to have gotten the chance to know you and your positive, inspiring spirit,” agreed Carey in her tribute post.
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