British pop singer Tom Parker – whose boy band The Wanted was a worldwide sensation and scored a triple platinum-selling top three of the Billboard Hot 100 hit in 2012 with “Glad You Came” – has died at the age of 33. Parker was diagnosed with inoperable stage four glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer, in October 2020, while his wife Kelsey Hardwick was pregnant with their second child. Hardwick announced the news of Parker’s death in a heartbreaking Instagram post on Wednesday.
“It is with the deepest of hearts that we confirm that Tom passed away peacefully earlier today with his entire family by his side,” Hardwick wrote. “Our hearts are broken, Tom was the center of our world and we can’t imagine life without his infectious smile and energetic presence. We are truly grateful for the outpouring of love and support and ask that we all unite to ensure that Tom’s light continues to shine for his beautiful children. Thank you to everyone who has supported him all along, he fought to the end. I am forever proud of you.”
A statement posted to Wanted’s Instagram page read: “Max, Jay, Siva, Nathan and the entire Wanted family are devastated by the tragic and untimely loss of our bandmate Tom Parker, who passed away peacefully today over lunch surrounded by his family and his bandmates. Tom was a wonderful husband to Kelsey and father to Aurelia and Bodhi. He was our brother, words cannot express the loss and sorrow we feel. Always and forever in our hearts.”
British-Irish boy band The Wanted was formed in 2009 after a nine-month massive talent search organized by Saturday’s music impresario Jayne Collins, ultimately selecting Parker, Jay McGuiness, Max George, Siva Kaneswaran and Nathan Sykes from the over 1,000 singers auditioned. Managed by Scooter Braun and signed to Universal Music, they sold 10 million records worldwide – including 600,000 albums and 2 million singles in the UK alone, where their self-titled debut album peaked at number 4 and spawned three top 20 singles. The success of the States came in 2012 with the breakthrough hit “Smooth You Came”, which also went to number 1 in the UK. A year later, the group played in their own E! reality series in america, The desired life† During their career, the Wanted were nominated for 14 World Music Awards, two Brit Awards, an American Music Award and an MTV Video Music Award.
In 2014, the Wanted went on hiatus so the band members could focus on solo careers. During that hiatus, Parker released the solo single “Undiscovered,” acted as a DJ, and collaborated with Richard Rawson on a song called “Fireflies.” He also participated in British reality shows Celebrity Master Chef and The jump and played Danny Zuko in a UK touring production of Fat†
On October 12, 2020, Parker announced that he had been diagnosed with brain cancer after having seizures three months earlier, describing his condition as the “worst-case scenario.” Speak with OKAY! magazine, he recalled:[Doctors] pulled the curtain around my bed and said, “It’s a brain tumor.” All I could think was, ‘F***ing hell!’ I was shocked. It’s stage four glioblastoma and they’ve said it’s terminal. It was a lot to process on my own. I still haven’t processed it.”
In January 2021, Parker announced on social media that his tumor had “reduced significantly” and that he was continuing treatment. Last October he said: The sun that he was determined to beat the odds by saying, “They’ll give you 12 to 18 months of survival. But those are the general stats. Everyone we’ve talked to has gone way beyond that. Now we’re aiming to get into March to be cancer-free. That’s the goal. This disease is always there. You may still have cells left, but you’re just not active.” In November 2021, he posted on Instagram that his tumor was “under control” after undergoing several rounds of chemotherapy and more than 30 radiotherapy sessions.
Last September, Parker held a special Stand Up to Cancer/National Brain Appeal charity concert at London’s Royal Albert Hall called “Inside My Head”, which featured performances by One Direction’s Becky Hill, McFly and Liam Payne’s first Wanted performance since their break. In November 2021, the reunited Wanted released the compilation Most Wanted: The Greatest Hits, including their first new song in seven years, “Rule the World.” The band embarked on a 12-date comeback tour this month, donating £1 from each ticket sale to the Brain Tumor Charity. Parker unfortunately had to officially stop the tour to undergo more cancer treatment, but he joined George, Sykes, Kaneswaran and McGuinness in surprise appearances at some of their concerts. Parker’s last Instagram photo, posted two days before his death, showed him onstage with his bandmates with the caption “Dream Team.”
Tom Parker leaves behind his wife Kelsey Hardwick and their two children, 2-year-old Aurelia and 16-month-old Bodhi.
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