RIP Sarah Harding

Girls Aloud star Sarah Harding went public with her cancer diagnosis in August 2020, saying she hoped she could help others.

Girls Aloud star Sarah Harding dies at 39; singer went public with late-stage breast cancer last year; her mother announced the news on Instagram, describing her as a “bright shining star”.

Key points: 

  • Girls Aloud star Sarah Harding dies at the age of 39 
  • She revealed last August she had advanced breast cancer and said she would likely not see another Christmas 
  • Her mother announced her death on Instagram, describing her as a ‘bright shining star’ 
  • Celebrities and fans have been paying tribute to the star, who was ‘always the driving energy in the room’ 
  • Harding rose to fame with Girls Aloud in 2002 after appearing in ITV’s Popstars: The Rivals
  • She also had parts in a number of television series and films
  • Live reporting by Emily Mee

Louis Walsh says he will remember Harding with ‘great fondness’ 

The music manager, who was a judge on Popstars: The Rivals when Girls Aloud was formed, said “it’s just sad she has gone too young”.

“She was always fun and the life and soul of the party,” he said in a statement. 

“Anytime she came to Dublin in the early days we went out to the pod nightclub and would be the last to leave.

“It’s just so unfair, I was hoping she was getting better. She was fun and loved music, dancing and life. I will remember her with great fondness.”

How Sarah Harding’s career began 

The star had worked as a nightclub promoter, a waitress at Pizza Hut and a BT telephone operator before she got her big break. 

She began her musical career touring pubs and social clubs in the North West, performing her own material, before auditioning for Popstars: The Rivals in 2002. 

Singing just a few lines acapella from Steps’ Last Thing On My Mind and blowing Louis Walsh a kiss, she was sent through to the next round almost immediately by judge Peter Waterman.

She’d beaten several thousand applications from across the UK to get down to the final 10 boys and ten girls. 

Harding ended up making it to the final five, joining the girls who would later form Girls Aloud – and the rest is a Whole Lotta History. 

Popstars – The Rivals winners, Girls Aloud from left to right; Nicola Roberts, 17, Nadine Coyle, 17, Sarah Harding, 20, Cheryl Tweedy, 19, and Kimberley Walsh, 20, pose for photographers in front of their poster in east London.