Girls Aloud star Sarah Harding has revealed she has advanced-stage breast cancer.
Posting on Twitter and Instagram, she wrote: “There’s no easy way to say this and actually it doesn’t even feel real writing this, but here goes.
“Earlier this year I was diagnosed with breast cancer and a couple of weeks ago I received the devastating news that the cancer has advanced to other parts of my body.”
I hope you are all keeping safe and well during these uncertain times. I’ve not posted on here for so long, thank you to everyone who has reached out to check in on me, it really does mean a lot.
I feel now is the right time to share what’s been going on. pic.twitter.com/gxzOAl71vS
— Sarah Harding (@SarahNHarding) August 26, 2020
The 38-year-old singer, who shot to fame with Girls Aloud in 2002, thanked fans for “reaching out to check in on me” and apologised for not posting for so long.
Along with a selfie showing her in a hospital bed wearing a gown, she said now was the “right time to share what’s been going on”.
Harding wrote: “I’m currently undergoing weekly chemotherapy sessions and I am fighting as hard as I possibly can. I understand this might be shocking to read on social media and that really isn’t my intention.
“But last week it was mentioned online that I had been seen in hospital, so I feel now is the time to let people know what’s going on and this is the best way I can think of to do so.”
She thanked her mum, family and friends for helping her, and also praised “the wonderful NHS doctors and nurses who have been and continue to be heroes”.
Remaining upbeat despite her diagnosis, she added: “I am doing my very best to keep positive and will keep you updated here with how I’m getting on.”
Sending love to her hundreds of thousands of social media followers, she said she hoped everyone would “understand and respect” her request for privacy in this “difficult time”.
At exactly the same time Harding posted the news, her former bandmate Cheryl posted a broken heart emoji on Twitter.
Nadine Coyle wrote on Instagram: “I love you!!! You have always been able to achieve miracles when needed!! I am here for all the way & always will be!!”.
Coyle, who has often been rumoured not to be close to the rest of the band, signed off her post with multiple heart, crown and star emojis.
Kimberley Walsh also wrote underneath Harding’s Instagram message, saying: “My heart is broken. You are so strong and brave and we are with you every step of the way.”
And Nicola Roberts posted a message of support on Twitter.
Steps star Ian H Watkins also commented on Harding’s Instagram post, writing: “Sending huge” followed by three red-heart emojis, adding “Stay strong xx We’re all behind you xx”.
Other celebrities to quickly wish Harding well included EastEnders actress Michelle Gayle and Fifi Geldof.
Harding was working in a string of part-time jobs in Stockport when she was catapulted to worldwide fame after auditioning for TV talent show Popstars: The Rivals in 2002.
She was chosen to be part of the manufactured five-piece pop group Girls Aloud alongside Cheryl Tweedy, Nadine Coyle, Nicola Roberts and Kimberley Walsh.
Unlike many other realty TV bands, Girls Aloud managed to sustain their early popularity, and at the height of their fame were named the highest-earning UK reality television stars by The Times.
After they split in 2013, Harding released her own solo album.
Alongside her success in music, she also stepped into the acting world, appearing in the St Trinian’s film franchise and ITV soap Coronation Street.
She also made her stage debut in Ghost – The Musical in 2016, a retelling of the hit 1990 film starring Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze.
Harding went on to win Celebrity Big Brother in 2017, and was the last female winner of the show, which was axed the following year.
Earlier this year there were rumours Girls Aloud could be planning a 2022 reunion, after previously reforming in 2012 for their tenth anniversary tour and Greatest Hits album.