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Justin Timberlake has a "heavy heart" this week. On Friday, the 40-year-old singer revealed that Nicole Hurst, a background vocalist, had died. She was 39.
Timberlake posted several photos and videos of Hurst to Instagram, along with a heartfelt tribute. "We lost a beautiful soul this week. Nicole lit up every room she walked into," he wrote. "On and off the stage she was a constant source of joy and positivity."
While it is not yet known how Hurst died, she told ABC 13 Houston in 2015 that she "was diagnosed with Stage 2 triple-positive breast cancer." In 2019, she shared that the cancer had come back after remission and had spread to her brain.
"Some things feel so unfair and we will never understand why they happen. What I do know is that 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," Timberlake continued his message. "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. Forever family and forever a TN Kid. 💔"
Hurst's final Instagram post was a photo of her and Timberlake performing at the 2018 Super Bowl. "In honor of Super Bowl LV today, here’s a throwback to 2018 when I had the honor to perform in the Super Bowl LII halftime show with my fam, JT and the TNKids!! 🏈," she shared in February.
The singer's battle with cancer started in July 2013 right before the Legends of the Summer Stadium Tour with Timberlake and JAY-Z.
"I had four months of chemo followed by my surgery which I had a mastectomy. Even while I was on chemotherapy my tumor doubled in size," she told ABC 13 Houston, noting that her cancer escalated to stage 3 before going into remission in 2015.
Then in 2019, Hurst posted photos of her from inside the hospital and revealed that her cancer had returned. "What was discovered was not a cancer recurrence, but breast cancer that somehow found it’s way to my 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," she wrote. "...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!"