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Girls Aloud singer Sarah Harding dies at age 39

Harding revealed that she had been diagnosed with cancer last year.
/ Source: TODAY

Sarah Harding of the U.K. pop group Girls Aloud has died at age 39, her mother, Marie, announcedSunday.

In an emotional Instagram post, she recalled her daughter's breast cancer diagnosis and stressed how the singer would want to be remembered.

"A message from Sarah’s mum," it began. “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."

Sarah Harding leaves the house after being announced as the winner during the Celebrity Big Brother Final at Elstree Studios on August 25, 2017 in Borehamwood, England.
Sarah Harding on Aug. 25, 2017, in Borehamwood, England.Tim P. Whitby

"I’d like to thank everyone for their kind support over the past year," the post continued. "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."

Girls Aloud was a record-breaking British-Irish pop group formed through ITV talent show "Popstars: The Rivals" in 2002. Harding and her fellow band members scored four No. 1 singles in the U.K. and became one of the most success reality TV music groups. Harding, along with singers Cheryl Cole, Nadine Coyle, Nicola Roberts and Kimberley Walsh, had twenty consecutive Top 10 singles in the United Kingdom, and their musical style was compared to the Spice Girls, The Bangles and Kylie Minogue.

Girls Aloud perform on stage on the first night of their "Girls Aloud - The Hits Tour 2013" tour, at the Metro Radio Arena on February 21, 2013 in Newcastle, United Kingdom.
Girls Aloud perform on the first night of their "Girls Aloud - The Hits Tour 2013" tour on Feb. 21, 2013, in Newcastle, United Kingdom.Dave J Hogan / Getty Images

In August 2020, Harding broke her long silence on social media to inform fans that she'd been diagnosed with breast cancer and that the disease had spread to other parts of her body.

"I feel now is the right time to share what’s been going on," Harding wrote alongside a selfie from a hospital bed. "There’s no easy way to say this and actually it doesn’t even feel real writing this, but here goes. Earlier this year I was diagnosed with breast cancer and a couple of weeks ago I received the devastating news that the cancer has advanced to other parts of my body. I’m currently undergoing weekly chemotherapy sessions and I am fighting as hard as I possibly can."

Sarah Harding from the group 'Girls Aloud' meets with fans as she arrives at the premiere of the film,' Horrid Henry', in central London on July 24, 2011.
Sarah Harding meets with fans as she arrives at the premiere of the film "Horrid Henry" in London on July 24, 2011.Max Nash / AFP - Getty Images

Later in 2020, Harding revealed she was publishing a book about her life called "Hear Me Out."

"It came at such a good time for me as it’s given me something fun and positive to focus on while I’ve been stuck at home in between trips to the hospital for treatment," she posted on Instagram.

Sarah Harding of Girls Aloud performs on their 'Ten - The Hits Tour' at The O2 Arena on March 1, 2013 in London, England.
Sarah Harding of Girls Aloud performs on their 10th anniversary tour in March 2013 in London.Dave J Hogan / Getty Images

After a hiatus from making music, Girls Aloud reunited for a 10-year anniversary tour in 2013. The group separated shortly after. Singer Cheryl Cole went on to become a judge on the U.K. version of "The X Factor."