Producer Pete Waterman pays tribute to Sarah Harding: “She was typical of what it was all about – excitement, just real enthusiasm”

Waterman was a judge on 'Popstars: The Rivals', the talent show on which Girls Aloud formed

Producer and former Popstars: The Rivals judge Pete Waterman has paid tribute to Girls Aloud’s Sarah Harding following the news of her death.

The singer died today (September 5) after being diagnosed with breast cancer last year. She shared the news with fans in August 2020, by which point the cancer had spread to other parts of her body. She was 39 years old.

Speaking to Sky News, Waterman recalled going to Harding’s house in Manchester when she was a contestant on Popstars: The Rivals to “tell her that she’d been picked to go into the group”. “She ran upstairs and was jumping on the bed with joy,” he remembered.

“There’s film of me in her bedroom [when she’s] jumping up and down. She was an excitable, young kid. She was typical of what it was all about – excitement, just real enthusiasm. That’s not that long ago – that’s probably 2003, 2004. We’re talking less than 20 years ago.”


He continued: “Sarah was always, I have to say – and this is not because of today’s news – Sarah was one of my favourites. Sarah was a lovely, lovely person. I remember, as I say, her mum at her house – they were overjoyed – and during the series, we spent a lot of time just talking everything through. It wasn’t easy, the whole competition thing sort of made it us and them, but not with Sarah.

“Sarah was just a delightful young kid. She was great – enthusiasm, full of life. This is a tragedy.”

Harding’s mother Marie confirmed the star’s death on her Instagram page earlier today. “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 wrote.

The singer published an autobiography called Hear Me Out in March 2021, which documented her experience of breast cancer as well her early life and time with Girls Aloud. In an excerpt shared earlier this year, Harding revealed that doctors had told her that Christmas 2020 “would probably be my last”.

“I don’t want an exact prognosis,” she wrote. “I don’t know why anyone would want that. Comfort and being as pain-free as possible is what’s important to me now.”

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