Justin Timberlake took to Instagram to mourn the demise of his long-time background vocalist Nicole Hurst after a long battle with breast cancer. She was just 38.
In a heartfelt tribute, Timberlake wrote: “My heart is so heavy. We lost a beautiful soul this week.” Apart from Timberlake, Hurst also worked as a backup vocalist with Kelly Clarkson, Jay-Z, Janet Jackson, Bruno Mars, and Alicia Keys among others. She had also been part of gran events like the Super Bowl Half-time show, the Academy Awards, and the Grammys.
“Nicole lit up every room she walked into. On and off the stage she was a constant source of joy and positivity,” the Grammy-winning singer continued in his Instagram post.
“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.
“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. ?,” Timberlake concluded.
Hurst has been battling breast cancer since 2013. That time, she was preparing for a concert tour with Timberlake and Jay-Z.
“I think one of my first thoughts was, am I going to die?” Hurst had told ABC13’s Samica Knight in 2015. “I had four months of chemo followed by my surgery which I had a mastectomy.”
Unfortunately, while undergoing treatment, Hurst’s cancer grew twice the size from the day it was detected, and felt hopeless then as she lost her job that time. By some twist of fate, she was in remission a couple of years later.
“We had such a special relationship. It was a quiet bond. We’d have really deep talks. We never really discussed cancer. She liked it that way,” Knight said Friday.
“She was a little weak, but our quick chat ended the way it’s ended the last 8 years. She said, ‘I love you, girl. I really do.’ I was fighting back tears this time and said, ‘I love you too, girl,'” a teary-eyed Knight narrated.
Hurst was born on Aug. 21, 1982. At an early age, she manifested a penchant for singing, according to her relatives. She went to The High School for the Performing and Visual Arts and pursued music at the Berklee College of Music.
She also had some memorable exposures at the White House and NBC’s Saturday Night Live.