Sarah Harding, co-founding member of the UK pop group Girls Aloud, has died at the age of 39 from breast cancer.
Harding’s mother, Marie, announced her daughter’s passing in a statement shared to Instagram on Sunday (Sept. 5th): “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 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 added.
In August 2020, Harding announced that she had been diagnosed with an advanced form of breast cancer that had spread to other parts of her body. In March 2021, she revealed that the disease was terminal and that she “won’t see another Christmas.”
Girls Aloud was born out of the UK reality singing competition Popstars: The Rivals. After auditioning for the program and advancing to the finals, she was paired with Nadine Coyle, Cheryl Tweedy, Nicola Roberts, and Kimberley Walsh to form Girls Aloud in 2002.
The group’s debut single, “Sound of the Underground,” peaked at number one on the UK Singles Chart, setting the record for the shortest time between formation and reaching number one. All told, they achieved four No. 1 singles and two No. 1 albums. In 2009, their song “The Promise” won the Brit Award for Best British Single.
Girls Aloud went on a hiatus in 2009 so that the group’s members could pursue solo projects. They briefly reunited in 2012 to embark on a tour celebrating their 10th anniversary, but they announced their permanent split the following year.
During Girls Aloud’s split and following their breakup, Harding pursued a career in acting with roles in the BBC television film Free Fall and in the action comedy St. Trinian’s 2: The Legend of Fritton’s Gold. She also appeared in reality shows like Celebrity MasterChef and Celebrity Big Brother.