Girls Aloud singer Sarah Harding has died aged 39, a year after being diagnosed with breast cancer.
Her death was announced by her mother through her Instagram profile. “It’s with deep heartbreak that today I’m sharing the news that my beautiful daughter Sarah has sadly passed away,” the post read.
“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.”
The pop star went public about her diagnoses in August 2020, with the hope that she could help others.
"Nothing is certain any more," the singer told The Times. "I'm just grateful to wake up every day and live my best life, because now I know just how precious it is."
“In December my doctor told me that the upcoming Christmas would probably be my last,” she wrote in Hear Me Out, her memoir, adding that she is “trying to live and enjoy every second of my life, however long it might be”.
Harding said she delayed having to a see a doctor because of the pandemic. “At first I thought it was just a cyst. The trouble was the pain was getting worse. It got so bad that I couldn't sleep in a bed. Eventually my skin started to bruise. By now I was terrified,” she writes.
“One day I woke up realising I'd been in denial. Yes there was a pandemic, but it was almost as if I'd been using that as an excuse not to face up to the fact that something was very wrong.”
She was then diagnosed with an advanced-stage breast cancer, which had spread to other parts of her body.
The singer shot to fame in 2002 as part of UK talent show Popstars: the Rivals, which led to the formation of Girls Aloud with four others: Cheryl Tweedy, Nadine Coyle, Nicola Roberts and Kimberley Walsh.
Their debut single, Sound of the Underground, topped the UK charts that year. The group went on to achieve a string of 20 consecutive top 10 singles in the UK, including four No 1s, until their split in 2013.
Harding also starred in long-running British series Coronation Street. In 2017, she won the reality show Celebrity Big Brother.