Girls Aloud star Sarah Harding has tragically passed away (Instagram/@sarahnicoleharding)
Girls Aloud star Sarah Harding has tragically died aged 39 after losing her battle with breast cancer, her mother has confirmed.
In August 2020 Harding announced that she’d been diagnosed with advanced-stage breast cancer and had undergone a mastectomy and intensive chemotherapy.
Earlier this year the singer revealed that doctors had told her she would not live to see another Christmas after the cancer spread to her spine.
Her mother Marie announced her passing on Instagram on Sunday (5 September), describing her “beautiful” daughter as “a bright shining star”.
“It’s with deep heartbreak that today I’m sharing the news that my beautiful daughter Sarah has sadly passed away,” she wrote.
“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.”
Sarah Harding shot to fame in 2002 as a contestant on Popstars: The Rivals, where together with Nicola Roberts, Nadine Coyle, Kimberley Walsh and Cheryl Cole she was voted into the girl band that would become Girls Aloud.
The group went on to be one of the UK’s most successful music acts of the decade with 21 UK Top 10 singles including “Sound of the Underground”, “Jump” and “Love Machine”.
After the group announced their split in 2013 Harding took on several acting roles, including in Run for Your Wife and St Trinian’s 2: The Legend of Fritton’s Gold.
In 2016 she made her stage debut in Ghost – The Musical at the New Wimbledon Theatre in London, and the following year she appeared in Celebrity Big Brother, which she went on to win.
After her cancer diagnosis Harding briefly returned to the charts as fans launched a campaign of support for the Girls Aloud single “Hear Me Out”, which she co-wrote. She also released a previously-unheard solo track, “Wear It Like A Crown”, to raise money for the foundation treating her cancer.
In March she published her autobiography Hear Me Out, written partly to encourage others to see a doctor before it’s too late.
At that point Harding explained that her priority was to spend as much time as possible with her mother and friends and to throw a huge party to say goodbye to her loved ones.
“I don’t want to feel like I have to spend whatever time I have left hiding away,” she said. “I’m trying to live and enjoy every second of my life, however long it might be.”