Sarah Harding, a founding member of the platinum-selling British girl group Girls Aloud, has died at the age of 39 following a battle with breast cancer.
Harding’s mother Marie announced the singer’s death Sunday on social media, the BBC reports. “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,” Marie wrote.
“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 revealed in August 2020 that she was diagnosed with breast cancer, which at that point had spread to other parts of her body. Although the singer underwent chemotherapy and a mastectomy, Harding opened up her grim prognosis in her memoir Hear Me Out published earlier this year.
“In December my doctor told me that the upcoming Christmas would probably be my last,” she wrote. “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… 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.”
Harding rose to fame when she was among the five singers recruited to form Girls Aloud on the reality singing competition Popstars: The Rivals in 2002; the girl group had immediate success, claiming the U.K.’s coveted Christmas Number One single with their first song “Sound of the Underground.”
Girls Aloud — Harding, Cheryl Tweedy, Nadine Coyle, Nicola Roberts and Kimberley Walsh — released five albums during their decade-long tenure together, with each LP going platinum in their native U.K. The group officially disbanded in 2013, after which Harding embarked briefly on a solo career before pursuing acting, including a stint on the long-running series Coronation Street.