Obituary: Girls Aloud’s Sarah Harding Dies of Cancer Aged 39

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British pop star Sarah Harding, known for being a member of girl group Girls Aloud, has died of cancer at the age of 39.

Harding began her career in 2002 at the age of 20 when she appeared on the reality show Popstars: The Rivals. A fan favourite who won a place in Girls Aloud and went on to win the show as a member of said group, Harding’s career was successful from the very beginning, as the group’s debut single ‘Sound of the Underground’ shot to number one on the UK charts.

Girls Aloud’s debut album had similar success, reaching number two on the UK charts and being certified platinum within a year of its release. This success lasted for the duration of Girls Aloud’s career as every album charted within the top ten of the UK charts.

Their commercial success was also supported by critical acclaim, as the group was praised for their forward-thinking and eclectic approach to pop music.

Girls Aloud finally reached number one on the UK Album’s chart in 2008 with their final album Out of Control and won their first and only Brit Award for the album’s lead single ‘The Promise’. The group disbanded in 2009 but briefly regrouped from 2012-2013.

Sarah Harding released her solo EP, Threads, in 2015. She went on to pursue an acting career both on the stage and on the screen, starring in St Trinnian’s 2: The Legend of Fritton’s Gold as rebellious student Roxy, in Coronation Street as Joni Preston, and touring the UK as part of the cast of Ghost: The Musical.

She publicly spoke about her cancer diagnosis for the first time in August 2020, and in March 2021 announced that it was terminal.

Harding’s mother Marie announced her passing on Harding’s official Instagram account, sharing a photograph of the star with the caption: “It is with deep heartbreak that today I’m sharing the news that my beautiful daughter has sadly passed away…I know she won’t 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”.

Former bandmate Nadine Coyle commented on her passing, sharing a photograph of Harding on Instagram with the caption “I am absolutely devastated!! I can’t think of words that could possibly express how I feel about this girl & what she means to me”.

Harding will be remembered for her impact on pop music, particularly within the UK.

Words by Emma Reilly


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