Former Girls Aloud bandmate leads tributes to Sarah Harding

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Nadine Coyle and Sarah Harding during an in store appearance at HMV music store in Oxford Street (PA)
Nadine Coyle and Sarah Harding during an in store appearance at HMV music store in Oxford Street (PA)

The showbiz world paid tribute to Sarah Harding who died on Sunday aged 39.

Girls Aloud singer Nadine Coyle led tributes to her former bandmate and friend who passed away after battling breast cancer.

The singer songwriter said she is “absolutely devastated” in an emotional tribute on Instagram.

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!!!”

Former Popstars: The Rivals judge Louis Walsh has said he will remember Ms Harding with “great fondness” following her death.

The Irish music manager helped put together the group on the ITV show in 2002, after similar successes with Boyzone and Westlife.

He was among famous names from the worlds of music and television sharing their condolences and memories of working with the star.

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

“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.”

Davina McCall who presented The Rivals and remained friends with Girls Aloud, described Ms Harding as a “star from the get go” and “hugely fun and outgoing yet also somehow fragile”.

Judges Pete Waterman, Geri Horner and Louis Walsh with presenter Davina McCall during Popstars: The Rivals (PA)
Judges Pete Waterman, Geri Horner and Louis Walsh with presenter Davina McCall during Popstars: The Rivals (PA)

Record producer Pete Waterman, who was also a judge on the talent show, told Sky News that he will “always remember her smile and the friendship and that bouncing on the bed” when he revealed she had won a place in Girls Aloud.

Spice Girls star Geri Horner the third judge on the programme, paid tribute on Twitter, writing: “Rest in peace, Sarah Harding. You’ll be remembered for the light and joy you brought to the world.”

Reality TV star Calum Best, who was in a relationship with Ms Harding between 2005 and 2006, spoke of the “crazy fun times and adventures” he had with her.

He said on Twitter: “Jesus this one hits home, so damn sad, so young. I hope u rest In peace Sarah we had some crazy fun times and adventures. U will be so very missed. Sending so much love to ur mom.”

His post was accompanied by three pictures of him with the popstar.

Singer and talent show judge Alesha Dixon said on Twitter: “A sad day! Such a shining star! Rest in peace beautiful Sarah.”

Reality star Katie Price shared a photo of them appearing together on a panel show and wrote: “I’m devastated to hear my friend, @sarahnicoleharding has passed.

“You were always such a genuine and honest person, I will remember all the laughs we used to have back in the day… I always valued Sarah’s friendship and my thoughts go out to her family and friends.”

JLS star Oritse Williams, whose band emerged four years after Girls Aloud, said the news was “heartbreaking to hear.”

He tweeted: “The times we met she was always so bubbly, such a big beautiful personality. My sincerest sympathies and heart goes out to Sarah’s friends, family and band members.”

A tweet from the official account of Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly said: “Such sad news. RIP Sarah xx”.

TV presenter Vernon Kay described Harding as “the driving energy in the room”.

Kym Marsh, whose band Hear’Say emerged from ITV show Popstars a year before Girls Aloud, described Ms Harding as “a beautiful person.”

She tweeted: “I don’t claim to have known her very well but what I did know was how fun and kind she really was. My thoughts are with her family and friends at this time. Sleep tight.”

Harding disclosed 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 on Sunday and described her “beautiful” daughter as “a bright shining star”.

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‘Such a shining star’ – TV and music worlds pay tribute to Sarah Harding

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