Rihanna. Picture: Instagram

Rihanna has paid tribute to a fan who lost her battle with cancer. 

The 'Diamonds' hitmaker admitted she was "heartbroken" as she remembered Monia, one of her Rihanna Navy - the name she collectively calls her fans - who passed away over the Christmas period after battling cancer three times.

She wrote on Instagram: "Navy Angels! This Christmas, we lost a beautiful spirit who was such a pillar of strength to us! Most of our friendship she’s spent in a hospital or doctor’s office! This picture was just a few months ago, she looked at me and said 'Rih the cancer is back' I’ll never forget the fear in her eyes this day! 

"Still she pushed forward, fighting the fight every day with the Navy behind her supporting her every step of the way! We are all heartbroken about this!!! You will never be forgotten! Love you my angel @moniasto fly in peace."

Rihanna also shared pictures she had taken with Monia at the Savage X Fenty Pop-Up in London in June earlier this year.

Alongside emojis of a broken heart and angel wings, she wrote: "miss you already sis @moniasto."

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miss you already sis @moniasto 💔😇 #NavyAngels

A post shared by badgalriri (@badgalriri) on

Rihanna had been supporting Monia through her cancer battle, regularly writing posts of support on Instagram.

One read: "Sis we are all praying for you! Your strength and your ability to let the beauty in your spirit shine through, even in the midst of adversity, is tremendously inspiring!! 

"I can't begin to imagine what you feel, so I want you to know we are all here for you and I encourage the NAVY to rally around you during these times! Love you!! "

Bang Showbiz