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Justin Timberlake mourns death of backup singer Nicole Hurst: 'My heart is so heavy'

Timberlake, who worked with Hurst multiple times, called her a "sister."
Justin Timberlake and Nicole Hurst
Justin Timberlake with singer Nicole Hurst in an undated photo posted to Timberlake's Instagram.@justintimberlake / Instagram
/ Source: TODAY

Justin Timberlake is mourning the death of singer Nicole Hurst. TODAY confirmed that Hurst died on Aug. 4, 2021 in Houston, Texas. She was 39 years old.

On Friday, the pop star posted a touching tribute on Instagram to honor Hurst who was part of his Tennessee Kids band and joined him at various performances, including at the Super Bowl 52 halftime show in 2018.

Hurst on stage with Timberlake at the Pepsi Super Bowl 52 halftime show at U.S. Bank Stadium on Feb. 4, 2018 in Minneapolis.Gregory Shamus / Getty Images

“My heart is so heavy. We lost a beautiful soul this week. Nicole lit up every room she walked into. On and off the stage she was a constant source of joy and positivity,” he wrote alongside a series of photos and video clips.

“Some things feel so unfair and we will never understand why they happen," he continued. "What I do know is that we were blessed to laugh with her, to travel with her, and to experience her infectious smile and love for a life filled with music. Nicole, it’s not enough to say that I am going to miss you dearly. Thank you for your light. I will do my best to carry that with me. I love you, my sister. Forever family and forever a TN Kid. 💔”

Hurst's cause of death was cancer. This was her second battle with cancer. She beat stage 2 breast cancer but died due to a form of brain cancer.

In August 2019, the singer opened up about living with cancer with her followers on Instagram.

“If you can’t tell by now, I’m kind of a private person. And I’ve been wanting to say something for months now, but could never find the right words,” she wrote in a lengthy post. “These pictures aren’t throwbacks from 2014, but from this year, literally from the 2nd day in January when my world was once again completely flipped upside down. What was discovered was not a cancer recurrence, but breast cancer that somehow found it’s way to my brain, forcing me to pull the emergency brake on my life and sent me immediately into whole brain radiation treatment to destroy everything that was trying to destroy me.”

The singer, who also performed with Kelly Clarkson, continued, “We all know everybody shares their life’s highlight reel, but rarely do we share the 'REAL' reel...the deep, sticky shit that exposes our vulnerabilities and the things we try to hide from others. And I know I don’t have to share anything, but with all the craziness happening in this world, sometimes it’s comforting to see people in unexpected situations that can encourage you to find a small sliver of hope in what can feel like an otherwise hopeless place.

"The reality is, it doesn’t matter how amazing your life looks, your background, net worth, or even who you sing with, life does not discriminate and can turn on you at any time! My battle isn’t over yet, and I don’t know what the future holds...really none of us do. But I know by the grace of God, along with the unrelenting support from my incredible family and friends, I’m fighting this thang with everything in me, and so far I’m winning cause I’m still here!"

Hurst added that she hoped her candid post would encourage others. "The last picture is a throwback to yesterday, my birthday!! And I’m celebrating every victory and soaking in the blessing of being able to celebrate another year of life, and many, MANY more to come! I hope this post will inspire you to live courageously in your present moment and recognize that with its many ups and downs, life is still beautiful.”