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Sarah Harding has passed away today (September 5) at the age of 39, following a battle with cancer.
The singer's mum Marie shared the sad news on Instagram, using Sarah's account to post a black and white photo of Sarah and write a message to her fans.
"It's with deep heartbreak that today I'm sharing the news that my beautiful daughter Sarah has sadly passed away," she 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.
"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."
Sarah was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer last year and told her fans in August 2020 that she was undergoing weekly chemotherapy sessions after the cancer spread to other parts of her body.
She recently released her autobiography, Hear Me Out, and she described working on the project as an opportunity to have "something fun and positive to focus on", saying that she was "really proud" of the book.
Sarah is best known for being part of the girl group Girls Aloud, who were formed after taking part in reality show Popstars: The Rivals in 2002.
After beating their rival boyband in a chart battle with their debut single, 'Sound of the Underground', Girls Aloud went on to have a very successful career, releasing five albums and achieving 20 consecutive top 10 singles before disbanding in 2013.
Away from music, Sarah took on a number of acting roles. After starring as Roxy in the St Trinian's movie and its sequel, she had a major role as Stephanie Smith in Run for Your Wife and played Joni Preston in several episodes of Coronation Street in 2015.
Tributes have begun to pour in for Sarah, including from her former bandmate, Nadine Coyle, who said: "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!!!"
Actor and musician Martin Kemp tweeted: "So sad, my heart goes out to all your friends and family and all your fans. Rest in peace!" while JLS singer Oritsé Williams wrote: "Heartbreaking to hear that Sarah Harding from Girls Aloud has just passed away after a long battle with cancer.
"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."
The Cruse Bereavement Care Freephone National Helpline is staffed by trained bereavement volunteers, who offer emotional support to anyone affected by bereavement.
The helpline, 0808 808 1677, is open Monday-Friday at 9.30am-5pm (excluding bank holidays), with extended hours on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings, when it is open until 8pm. You can also email email@example.com.
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