Sarah Harding - former member of girl group Girls Aloud - has passed away at the age of 39, her mother has confirmed.
In a post on Instagram, Harding’s mother Marie said: “It’s with deep heartbreak that today I’m sharing the news that my beautiful daughter Sarah has sadly passed away.
“Many of you will know of Sarah’s battle with cancer and that she fought so strongly from her diagnosis until her last day. She slipped away peacefully this morning.
“I’d like to thank everyone for their kind support over the past year. It meant the world to Sarah and it gave her great strength and comfort to know she was loved.
“I know she won’t want to be remembered for her fight against this terrible disease – she was a bright shining star and I hope that’s how she can be remembered instead. – Marie x”.
Harding was a singer, model and actress who rose to fame in late 2002 when she successfully auditioned for the ITV reality series Popstars: The Rivals.
With Girls Aloud, Harding achieved twenty consecutive top ten singles (including four number ones) in the UK, six studio albums that were certified platinum by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), two of which went to number one in the UK, and accumulated a total of five BRIT Award nominations.
‘Trying to live and enjoy every second’
Harding revealed in August 2020 that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer, which had spread to other parts of her body.
Earlier this year, Harding said she was told by a doctor she will probably not be alive next Christmas.
In an extract of her memoir, titled Hear Me Out, which was published in The Times, Harding wrote: “In December my doctor told me that the upcoming Christmas would probably be my last.
“I don’t want an exact prognosis. I don’t know why anyone would want that. Comfort and being as pain-free as possible is what’s important to me now.”
Harding said she is “trying to live and enjoy every second of my life, however long it might be”.
“I am having a glass of wine or two during all this, because it helps me relax,” she added. “I’m sure some people might think that’s not a great idea, but I want to try to enjoy myself.
“I’m at a stage now where I don’t know how many months I have left. Who knows, maybe I’ll surprise everyone, but that’s how I’m looking at things.”
Harding said publicly revealing her diagnosis was “scary” but was also “the right thing to do”.
She said the support she has received has been “incredible”, adding: “I’ve been inundated with lovely messages from my fans. I’m grateful beyond words for that.”
Who has paid tribute?
Fearne Cotton was among those paying tribute on the Instagram post from Sarah Harding’s mother announcing her death aged 39.
Cotton wrote: “Oh my gosh I’m so sorry to hear this. I’m sending your family so much love and strength. She was always kind and so much fun to be around. I’m very sorry for your loss. Prayers and love to you.”
Alesha Dixon has described Sarah Harding as a “shining star” following her death.
The singer and talent show judge said on Twitter: “A sad day! Such a shining star! Rest in peace beautiful Sarah.”
Former Spandau Ballet member Martin Kemp has tweeted his condolences to Sarah Harding’s family and friends.
“Sarah Harding so sad, my heart goes out to all your friends and family and all your fans,” he tweeted. “Rest in peace!”
TV presenter Vernon Kay described Harding as “the driving energy in the room” on social media.
“Very sad news,” he tweeted. “From the moment Pop Idol finished GA were regularly on T4 and Radio 1. Sarah was always the driving energy in the room… RIP.”
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