Paying tribute. Justin Timberlake mourned the death of his longtime backup singer Nicole Hurst, who died earlier this week.
Timberlake, 40, shared an Instagram gallery of photos and videos of the pair, performing and hanging out backstage together.
The former ‘NSync crooner captioned his Friday, August 6, post, “My heart is so heavy. We lost a beautiful soul this week. Nicole lit up every room she walked into. On and off the stage she was a constant source of joy and positivity.”
Hurst, who died at age 39, was part of his “Tennessee Kids” musical act.
“Some things feel so unfair and we will never understand why they happen,” the Palmer star continued. “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.”
He ended his tribute with a message to the late singer: “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. 💔”
The backup vocalist’s cause of death is unconfirmed at this time.
She was previously diagnosed with breast cancer at age 31 in 2013. “I was diagnosed with Stage 2 triple-positive breast cancer,” Kelly Clarkson’s former background vocalist explained to ABC13 in Houston in October 2015. “I think one of my first thoughts was, am I going to die?”
The Houston native told the outlet about her aggressive cancer at the time. “I had four months of chemo followed by my surgery which I had a mastectomy,” she said. “Even while I was on chemotherapy, my tumor doubled in size.”
From there, her cancer escalated to Stage 3, and she kept fighting. Two years later, she told the news outlet that she was in remission.
Four years later, Hurst opened up about her cancer battle in an August 2019 Instagram post after she learned about a new diagnosis earlier that year. Alongside a series of photos from her hospital stay, she captioned it, “If you can’t tell by now, I’m kind of a private person. And I’ve been wanting to say something for months now, but could never find the right words. These pictures aren’t throwbacks from 2014, but from this year, literally from the 2nd day in January when my world was once again completely flipped upside down.”
She continued in the post at the time, “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. … My battle isn’t over yet, and I don’t know what the future holds…really none of us do. But I know by the grace of God, along with the unrelenting support from my incredible family and friends, I’m fighting this thang with everything in me, and so far I’m winning cause I’m still here!💪🏽”