Girls Aloud star Sarah Harding dies aged 39

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Late Sarah Harding

Girls Aloud singer Sarah Harding, 39, who had breast cancer, died on Sunday morning, her mother has said.

Harding revealed in August 2020 that she had been diagnosed with the disease, which had spread to other parts of her body.

Her mother Marie announced the news on Instagram, describing her “beautiful” daughter as “a bright, shining star”.

Earlier this year Harding revealed doctors had told her she would not see another Christmas.

In a post next to a black and white image of Harding, her mother wrote: “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.”

Earlier this year, in an extract from her memoir Hear Me Out published in the Times, Harding wrote: “In December my doctor told me that the upcoming Christmas would probably be my last.”

She said she didn’t want an exact prognosis, just “comfort” and to be “pain-free”.

Harding shot to fame in 2002 as a contestant on Popstars: The Rivals – an ITV talent show which aimed to find both a new girl band and boy band.

She made it to the final and gained the final spot in the group which became Girls Aloud – despite being the underdog according to bookmakers – alongside Nicola Roberts, Nadine Coyle, Kimberley Walsh and Cheryl Cole (then Tweedy).

TV and music stars have been among those to pay tribute to Harding, who was born in Ascot, Berkshire, on 17 November 1981, and later moved to Stockport, Manchester.

Former Spice Girl Geri Horner – a judge on Popstars: The Rivals – tweeted: “Rest in peace, Sarah Harding. You’ll be remembered for the light and joy you brought to the world.”

Fellow judge Louis Walsh said he would remember her with “great fondness”. He added: “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.”

Another member of the ITV talent show’s cast, TV presenter Davina McCall, wrote it was “so, so sad” to hear the news. “A star from the get go, hugely fun and outgoing yet also somehow fragile… love to her family and friends.”

Former boyfriend Calum Best, a reality TV star, spoke of the “crazy fun times and adventures” they had together, saying she would be “so very missed”. (BBC)

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