Girls Aloud singer and member Sarah Harding has died at 39 after a battle with breast cancer. Harding revealed her diagnosis back in August 2020 and added that it had already spread through her body. In her memoirs, the singer revealed to fans that her doctors noted that Christmas 2020 would likely be her last.
The singer’s passing was confirmed in a message from her mother on Instagram, with well wishes and mourning from fans and bandmates following shortly after. “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,” the message from Harding’s mother read. “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.”
Girls Aloud fellow member Nadine Coyle also shared a message on Instagram, expressing sympathy over the loss. “I am absolutely devastated!! I can’t think of words that could possibly express how I feel about this girl & 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!!!,” Coyle wrote.
According to BBC News, Harding’s fame blasted off in 2002 on Popstars: The Rivals, a talent show on the UK’s ITV that sought the next big boy band or girl band. She made the final and joined the group that would eventually become Girls Aloud, alongside Coyle, Nicola Roberts, Kimberley Walsh and Cheryl Cole.
Harding revealed she had initially put off seeking medical aid upon discovering lumps in December 2019. By the time she saw a doctor, the world was struck by the coronavirus pandemic and treatment options slowed to a crawl. “I was aware that I needed to get this health issue sorted, but with everything that was going on, it was tough,” she wrote, adding that pain would soon become quite evident. “One day I woke up realising that I’d been in denial about the whole thing. Yes, there was a lockdown, 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.”
Harding was also a Big Brother winner in 2017, made some appearances on the long-running series Coronation Street. And despite their dramatic break-up, Harding did bury the hatchet with her former bandmates, getting a final weekend together before Harding’s passing. “To hear her talk about what might have been in her life, and what should have been, destroys me. It’s broken me now, just thinking about it,” Cheryl said at the time. “I don’t want Sarah to have regrets, and I don’t want her kicking herself for things she’s done in the past. This illness would have happened to her regardless of how she chose to live her life. It is not, as some might suggest, a result of the person she is or has been. It’s just one of those awful things that life deals a person sometimes. That’s it.”