Words: Will Stroude; Image: Instagram @sarahnicoleharding
Sarah Harding has died aged 39.
The Girl Aloud singer passed away on Sunday morning (5 September) following a battle with breast cancer, her mother Marie has confirmed.
"It’s with deep heartbreak that today I’m sharing the news that my beautiful daughter Sarah has sadly passed away" reads a statement shared to Harding's Instagram page by Marie.
"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.
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"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."
Harding, who shot to fame on Popstars: The Rivals in 2002 when the public voted her into Girls Aloud, publicly confirmed her diagnosis with breast cancer in August 2020.
The singer explained she had been diagnosed with the illness earlier that year, but decided to share her ill-health with fans after receiving the "devastating news" that the cancer had spread to other parts of her body.
In March this year, Harding revealed that doctors had told her she was unlikely to see another Christmas.
In an extract from her memoir, Hear Me Out, she wrote: "In December my doctor told me that the upcoming Christmas would probably be my last."
The star added she was "trying to live and enjoy every second of my life, however long it might be".
As part of Girls Aloud, Harding scored twenty consecutive UK Top Ten singles - including four number ones - alongside bandmates Cheryl, Kimberly Walsh, Nicola Roberts and Nadine Coyle.
After taking a three-year hiatus in 2009, the group reunited in 2012 for a greatest hits album and tour, before announcing their split in 2013.
Harding later turned her attention to TV and acting projects, appeating in ITV soap Coronation Street in 2015 and going on to win Celebrity Big Brother two years later.