Girls Aloud star Sarah Harding dies at 39 after cancer fight

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FILE – In this Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2009 file photo, Singer Sarah Harding from British band Girls Aloud, attends the Brit Awards 2009 ceremony at Earls Court exhibition centre in London, England, Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2009. Harding, of British pop group Girls Aloud, has died after a battle with breast cancer, her mother said Sunday, Sept. 5, 2021. She was 39. The singer said last August that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer and it had spread to other parts of her body. (AP Photo/MJ Kim, File)

LONDON (AP) — Singer Sarah Harding of the British pop group Girls Aloud has died after a battle with breast cancer, her mother said Sunday. She was 39.

The singer said last August that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer and it had spread to other parts of her body. On Sunday, her mother Marie said on Instagram: “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,” she wrote. She added that Harding was a “bright shining star” and would have wanted to be remembered for that, rather than for her fight against cancer.

Harding said earlier this year that she was told by a doctor that she will likely not be alive next Christmas. In her autobiography, released in March, she said she decided to announce her illness in the hope that others who have concerns would seek medical help and not leave a cancer diagnosis until it’s too late.

Harding found fame in 2002 as a contestant on the ITV talent show “Popstars: The Rivals,” which paved the way for her joining Girls Aloud alongside Nicola Roberts, Kimberley Walsh, Cheryl Tweedy and Nadine Coyle.

The group had several hits including “Sound of the Underground,” “Love Machine” and “The Promise” before it split up in 2013.

After Girls Aloud, Harding appeared in several movies and television shows as well as a stage adaptation of “Ghost” the movie. She won the reality show “Celebrity Big Brother” in 2017.

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