POP star Sarah Harding has died aged 39 barely 12 months after she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
But the singer’s mum Marie today confirmed the heartbreaking news of her daughter’s death – saying her “shining star” had “slipped away” after bravely fighting the disease for 12 months.
She wrote: “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.
“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.- Marie x”.
Friends told The Sun Sarah, who would have turned 40 in November, had passed away at home this morning.
“She was very much loved.”
Tributes have already started flooding in from her showbiz pals.
“She was always kind and so much fun to be around. I’m very sorry for your loss. Prayers and love to you.”
While Sheridan Smith said: “So sad. What a sweetheart she was. Life is too short!”
Sarah shared the news of her breast cancer diagnosis with her social media followers and fans last August.
In the book, Sarah wrote about reuniting with her Girls Aloud bandmates Cheryl Tweedy, Kimberley Walsh and Nadine Coyle and said they had become close again.
She also spoke candidly about her experience of living with cancer and told how she had almost died following a battle with sepsis while in hospital.
At the time she wrote: “I’m just grateful to wake up every day and live my best life, because now I know just how precious it is . . . nothing is certain any more.”
She added: “The disease has worsened, as has my prognosis. This tumour is the thing that scares me more than anything because I think it will be the thing that affects me the most.
“I don’t know what it’s going to do, but it’s there. There’s an option for radiotherapy on my skull but I don’t want to go through that and lose my hair at this stage, especially with no guarantees at the end of it.
“It might seem vain thinking about my hair, but my thinking was that if there’s a chance I’ve only got six months, then I’ve got six months.
Sarah also wrote about being told how the Christmas just past would be her last and explained she had asked doctors not to give her a time.
She explained: “I don’t want an exact prognosis. I don’t know why anyone would want that. Comfort and being as pain-free as possible is what’s important to me now.
“Silly little things make me happy: my lie-ins, watching Family Guy on TV through the night when I can’t sleep, roasting a chicken for Mum and me on a Sunday, if I’m feeling up to it.”
The song went straight to No1 on iTunes, with Sarah calling her fans the “best in the world”.
She said at the time: “I can’t believe you nutters got the song not only into the charts, but to NUMBER ONE! I love you all so much, you are the best people in the world.
“So, while I was searching through my laptop for old photos to include in the book I actually came across a song I’d recorded about ten years ago. I’ve always really loved it, and it made me feel a bit sad that no one ever got to hear it.”
The group, who split in 2013, had four No1 singles and 21 UK top ten hits, as well as two No1 albums.
Sarah also appeared in several acting roles such as Run for Your Wife, and St. Trinian’s 2: The Legend of Fritton’s Gold.
She won Celebrity Big Brother in 2017, with more than a third of the public vote.
What is breast cancer and how does it spread?
Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in the UK – with one woman diagnosed every ten minutes.
While most women can get breast cancer, it is most common in women who are over the age of 50.
According to Cancer Research UK, breast cancer starts in the breast tissue.
Breast cancer develops when abnormal cells in the breast begin to grow and divide in an uncontrolled way and eventually form a growth.
Most invasive breast cancers are found in the upper-outer quadrant of the breast.
If it’s not diagnosed and treated it can move through the lymph or blood vessels to other areas of the body.
Each year in the UK there are around 55,200 new breast cancer cases.
This equates to around 150 new cases a day.
It also accounts for 15 per cent of all new cancer cases each year.
If the cancer is diagnosed at its earliest stage then 98 per cent of people will survive the disease for five years or more.
If it is diagnosed at the latest stage, then just 26 per cent of people survive for five years or more.
What are the four stages of breast cancer?
Stage one: The cancer is small and only in the breast tissue – but can also be found in lymph nodes close to the breast.
Stage two: The cancer is either in the breast or in the nearby lymph nodes or both.
Stage three: The cancer has spread from the breast to the lymph nodes or the skin of the breast or the chest wall.
Stage four: The cancer has spread to other parts of the body.
What are the signs?
- A lump in the breast or armpit
- Changes in the positioning of the nipple
- Nipples leaking in women who have not had children
- Skin changes