Girls Aloud singer and actress Sarah Harding has died at the age of 39 after a battle with cancer.

Miss Harding's mother Marie broke the news on her daughter's Instagram account, saying, "It’s with deep heartbreak that today I’m sharing the news that my beautiful daughter Sarah has sadly passed away."

She added, "Many of you will know of Sarah’s battle with cancer and that she fought so strongly from her diagnosis until her last day.

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"She slipped away peacefully this morning. I’d like to thank everyone for their kind support over the past year. It meant the world to Sarah and it gave her great strength and comfort to know she was loved.

"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 x".

Sarah, who released her memoir earlier this year, revealed her cancer diagnosis in an emotional Instagram post last year, admitting that she didn't see her doctor because of her worries over Covid-19.

Sarah Harding

She said she thought she had a cyst before her diagnosis.

She wrote: "At first I thought it was just a cyst. The trouble was the pain was getting worse. It got so bad that I couldn’t sleep in a bed. Eventually my skin started to bruise. By now I was terrified.

"One day I woke up realising I’d been in denial. Yes there was a pandemic but it was almost as if I’d been using that as an excuse not to face up to the fact that something was very wrong."

Miss Harding, who was born in Ascot, Berkshire in 1981, enjoyed a hugely successful career with Girls Aloud, the pop group formed on Pop Stars: The Rivals in 2002.

They had numerous hits in Ireland and the UK with songs such as Sound of The Underground, Biology, and The Promise.

She also began acting and appeared in Bad Day, the BBC television film Freefall, Run for Your Wife, and St. Trinian's 2: The Legend of Fritton's Gold.

In 2015, the singer briefly appeared in Coronation Street, and released her first EP Threads. She won Celebrity Big Brother in 2017.

Tributes have been paid to the late singer on social media.