Girls Aloud star Sarah Harding dies aged 39 from breast cancer

Louis Walsh and bandmate Nadine Coyle have paid tribute to the singer

 The Girls Aloud star Sarah Harding has died at the age of 39. Photograph: Ian West/PA Wire

The Girls Aloud star Sarah Harding has died at the age of 39. Photograph: Ian West/PA Wire

 

Girls Aloud star Sarah Harding has died at the age of 39 after suffering from cancer.

The singer revealed last August that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer, which had spread to other parts of her body.

Her mother Marie announced the death on Instagram and described her “beautiful” daughter as “a bright shining star”.

The caption under the black and white image of Harding smiling 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”

Sarah Harding (centre) performing with her Girls Aloud bandmates (from left to right) Kimberley Walsh, Cheryl Cole, Nicola Roberts and Nadine Coyle. Photograph: Simone Joyner/Getty
Sarah Harding (centre) performing with her Girls Aloud bandmates (from left to right) Kimberley Walsh, Cheryl Cole, Nicola Roberts and Nadine Coyle. Photograph: Simone Joyner/Getty

Her Girls Aloud bandmate Nadine Coyle said on Instagram that she is “absolutely devastated” by the news.

She wrote: “I can’t think of words that could possibly express how I feel about this girl and what she means to me!! I know so many of you will be feeling this way. For now I’m sending so much love to you!!!”

Music manager Louis Walsh, who helped create the group on ITV show Popstars: The Rivals in 2002, said he would remember Ms Harding with “great fondness”.

In a statement, he said: “It’s just sad she has gone too young. She was always fun and the life and soul of the party.

“Anytime she came to Dublin in the early days we went out to the Pod nightclub and would be the last to leave.

“It’s just so unfair, I was hoping she was getting better. She was fun and loved music, dancing and life. I will remember her with great fondness.”

Comfort

Earlier this year, Ms 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, Ms 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.”

Ms Harding said she was “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 said.

“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.”

She said the support she had received had been “incredible”, saying: “I’ve been inundated with lovely messages from my fans. I’m grateful beyond words for that.”

Ms Harding found fame with the girl band Girls Aloud which was formed on ITV show Popstars: The Rivals. –PA