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Several days ago, one of Lady Gaga’s dearest friends, and the inspiration for the song “Grigio Girls,” Sonja Durham, passed away after battling Stage IV cancer which had spread to her breasts, brain, and lungs. Durham had been entrusted as the longtime managing director for Haus of Gaga, the singer’s personal lifestyle and fashion brand.

Yesterday, still mourning the loss of her friend, Lady Gaga posted a thoughtful message on Instagram that not only served to praise Durham’s influence on her own life, but also to discuss how her illness affected their relationship as it progressed.


She ends the message by sharing her last words to Sonja: "Go find Joanne, Sonj." Joanne, the name of both her late aunt and her fifth album, is, by the artist’s own description, about “Returning to your family and where you came from, and your history ... this is what makes you strong. It's not looking out that's going to do that—it's looking in ... “Joanne” is a progression for me. It was about going into the studio and forgetting that I was famous."

Several days prior to Sonja’s death, Gaga had posted another message to her. This message was one of praise directed toward her, rather than about her, ending with, “I love you so much.”

Throughout Sonja’s battle with cancer, the Gaga had championed both her fight and the fight of all those affected by cancer. In the video below, she reveals that Sonja serves—not just as an inspiration in her daily life, but in her artistic life as well—as the catalyst for a recent song.

Below is the official video for “Grigio Girls,” inspired by Sonja.