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The singer, who performed with the “Sound of the Underground” band between 2002 and 2013, announced last August that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer.
In March, she said that Christmas 2020 was “probably my last” after the cancer spread to her spine.
Harding died on Sunday (5 September) morning, her mother Marie announced on Instagram this afternoon.
“It’s with deep heartbreak that today I’m sharing the news that my beautiful daughter Sarah has sadly passed away,” Marie wrote.
“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.”
Social media was flooded with tributes to Harding from fans and stars alike, with Geri Halliwell writing that the singer would be “remembered for the light and joy you brought to the world”.
Harding’s former bandmate, Nadine Coyle, said on Instagram: “I am absolutely devastated!! I can’t think of words that could possibly express how I feel about this girl and what she means to me!”
“Rest in peace beautiful, thank you for the music and your beautiful light and bravery,” wrote musician Rebecca Ferguson.
“R.I.P. Pop Music Icon Sarah Harding! Strength and Love to her friends and family,” tweeted Jedward.
Spandau Ballet musician Martin Kemp wrote: “Sarah Harding. So sad, my heart goes out to all your friends and family and all your fans.. Rest in peace!
“Ah no…. So sad to hear about Sarah Harding’s passing,” tweeted Game of Thrones star Nathalie Emmanuel, adding: “F***cancer man….”
“So so sad to hear about Sarah … a star from the get go , hugely fun and outgoing yet also somehow fragile , … love to her family and friends,” wrote Davina McCall.
“RIP Sarah Harding,” tweeted The Chase’s Paul Sinha. “Cherish life. None of us know what’s round the corner.”
Vernon Kay wrote: “Very sad news. From the moment Pop Idol finished GA were regularly on T4 and Radio1. Sarah was always the driving energy in the room….RIP.”