Jane “Nightbirde” Marczewski, the singer whose breakout performance as a contestant on the latest season of “America’s Got Talent” made her a fan favorite, died Saturday at age 31 after battling cancer for four years.
“Your voice, your story, and your message touched millions,” read a statement from the show shared with USA TODAY. “Nightbirde will always be a member of the AGT family. Rest In Peace, Jane.”
Nightbirde’s family confirmed her death “with the deepest heartache.”
“We, her family, are devastated by her passing and unimaginable loss. Many remember her from America’s Got Talent, where she performed her song ‘It’s OK’ and inspired millions of people around the globe with her messages of faith and never giving up, ” the family said Monday in a statement to USA TODAY. “Those who knew her, enjoyed her larger-than-life personality and sense of humor. She had a witty joke for every occasion – even if the joke was on her. Her lasting legacy will be the gift of hope she gave to so many through her music and the strength she found in Jesus.”
Show host Terry Crews also shared the news on social media Monday, posting a photo of Nightbirde to Instagram and writing, “We are saddened to learn about @_nightbirde’s Passing. Our Condolences goes to her Closest Family & Friends in such of this difficult time. We Love you, Nightbirde.”
TMZ first reported the news of the singer’s death.
Ohio singer Marczewski had to withdraw from the NBC competition show midway through the 16th season in August, revealing that her health had “taken a turn for the worse” since her audition. The singer-songwriter’s exit came just after she captured America’s heart during her emotional performance of her original song about being more than her cancer, titled “I’m OK,” which earned her a Golden Buzzer from Simon Cowell.
“I am so sad to announce that I won’t be able to continue forward on this season of AGT,” she wrote on Instagram at the time. “Life doesn’t always give breaks to those that deserve it – but we knew that already.”
Marczewski previously shared she has a “2% chance of survival” with “some cancer in my lungs, spine and liver.” She added, “But 2% isnt 0%. Two percent is something and I wish people knew how amazing it is.”
Nightbird:‘AGT’ contestant withdraws from competition after cancer ‘takes turn for the worse’
The “AGT” community took to social media to mourn the singer.
Judge Howie Mandel tweeted Monday that “@_nightbirde was such a bright inspirational light in all our lives.
“We must continue to live and learn from her words and lyrics. As much as I feel horribly about her passing I feel lucky to have met, heard and known her,” he said.
Judge Heidi Klum shared a photo of Nightbirde on her Instagram story, writing “We love you” and “rest in peace.”
Former CNN anchor Chris Cuomo said in a tweet that Nightbirde “was a gift. To me to you to us. She showed strength despite weakness … she worshiped the present ability to love and be loved. I will live her lesson best I can. Rest in peace, beautiful friend.”
Nightbirde’s emotional return:Simon Cowell fights tears during ‘AGT’ results show
After her emotional exit from the show, the singer returned virtually to provide an update following her departure.
“I cannot say thank you enough for the opportunity to have a moment to share my story and we are witnessing such a beautiful picture of the human spirit,” she said at the time, adding that the overwhelming amount of support she received has “restored my faith in humanity.”
Cowell said Marczewski made the right decision to focus on “your well-being, your health and your recovery.”
“You made the decision, rightly so, that your health is your priority right now and I know the last time we spoke you actually said that you feel like you let people down,” Cowell told her, holding back tears. “On behalf of all of us, you haven’t let anyone down. Even though you haven’t competed – you already won.”
Contributing: Cydney Henderson