Justin Timberlake Mourns Backup Singer Nicole Hurst, a "Constant Source of Joy"

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Aug. 7 2021, Published 10:34 a.m. ET

We don’t yet know what happened to Nicole Hurst, but we do know how her death is affecting Justin Timberlake, for whom she sang backup.

Justin announced the sad news on Instagram on Friday, Aug. 6. "My heart is so heavy. We lost a beautiful soul this week."

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Nicole was 39 years old, People reports. A cause of death hasn’t been announced, but the Houston-based singer, who also toured with Kelly Clarkson and even sang at the White House, previously experienced bouts with cancer.

Nicole was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer in 2013.

In October 2015, Nicole shared her cancer story with Houston’s ABC13 Eyewitness News, revealing that she was diagnosed with stage 2 triple-positive breast cancer two summers prior as she prepared to tour with Justin and Jay-Z.

“I think one of my first thoughts was, 'am I going to die?'” she said. “I had four months of chemo followed by my surgery [in] which I had a mastectomy. Even while I was on chemotherapy, my tumor doubled in size.”

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Her cancer escalated to stage 3 before she went into remission.

Nicole also told ABC13 that her cancer eventually became stage 3. “I was in the bathroom on the floor like bawling my eyes out and I was like, ‘I don’t know why I’m going through this, Lord, but I trust you. I trust that you are going to get me through this.”

At the time of the interview, she was still undergoing therapy but her cancer was in remission. “Mentally I told myself, 'you’ve got to get through this because you've got to get back on the road,'” she recalled.

The cancer recurred by 2019, but Nicole said she was fighting.

In August 2019, Nicole told Instagram followers that she found out that January that her cancer had recurred and spread to her brain, “forcing me to pull the emergency brake on my life and sent me immediately into whole brain radiation treatment to destroy everything that was trying to destroy me.”

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She went on: “We all know everybody shares their life’s highlight reel, but rarely do we share the ‘real’ reel. The reality is, it doesn’t matter how amazing your life looks, your background, net worth, or even who you sing with, life does not discriminate and can turn on you at any time!”

But Nicole vowed that the battle wasn’t over. “I know by the grace of God, along with the unrelenting support from my incredible family and friends, I’m fighting this thing with everything in me.”

Nicole was “a constance source of joy and positivity,” Justin said.

In his Instagram post on Friday, Justin gave fans a sense of Nicole’s personality.

“Nicole lit up every room she walked into,” he wrote. “On and off the stage she was a constant source of joy and positivity. … We were blessed to laugh with her, to travel with her, and to experience her infectious smile and love for a life filled with music. Nicole, it’s not enough to say that I am going to miss you dearly. Thank you for your light. I will do my best to carry that with me. I love you, my sister.”

Our thoughts are with Nicole's family and friends during this difficult time.

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