Bernie Nolan has died yesterday of breast cancer at the age of 52 according to her publicist.
Her family's spokesperson said: "Bernie passed away peacefully this morning with all of her family around her. The entire family are devastated to have lost beloved Bernie, a wonderful wife, adoring mother and loving sister; she is irreplaceable.”
The former star of The Bill and Brookside and vocalist of The Nolans had been diagnosed with cancer in 2010, and had several sessions of chemotherapy and then a mastectomy performed.
Although initially the doctors declared her cured and healthy in 2010, some time later the terrifying disease sprang back spreading to her bones, brain, liver, and lungs.
“It is harder this time,” she admitted in an interview. “Because that word has come into it... incurable. That was never there before. But there’s another word I have too, a word I like. Treatable. It could have been worse.
It could have just been incurable. I’m not being funny, but we’re all going to die, we just don’t know when. The only difference is I’ve got a bit of warning, but it could be a 20-year warning for all anyone knows. And I’d get pretty bored sitting on the couch for the next 20 years.”
"Bernie passed away peacefully this morning with all of her family around her. The entire family are devastated to have lost beloved Bernie, a wonderful wife, adoring mother and loving sister, she is irreplaceable. The family kindly asks people to respect their privacy at this difficult time", wrote a spokesman for the Nolan's family.
"So sad to hear Bernie Nolan has passed away," tweeted Nolan's Brookside co-star Jennifer Ellison, after hearing the news of her death. "Such an amazing lady, had the honour of working with her twice will cherish the memories."
Bill co-star Gary Lucy tweeted: "RIP Bernie Nolan - our thoughts are with her family."
Sherrie Hewson, who works with Bernie's sister Coleen on Loose Women, tweeted: "RIP the wonderfully talented Bernie Nolan. A beautiful person that brightened up this sometimes dark world of ours! Sing forever Bernie."
"Very sad to hear of the passing of Bernie Nolan," added commentator Gary Lineker on Twitter. "A fabulous and fabulously talented lady. Thoughts are with the family."
Born on 17 October 1960, Bernie grew up in Ireland and made her name performing with the original line-up of girl group The Nolans (formerly known as the Nolan Sisters), alongside her sisters Maureen, Linda, Coleen, Anne, Denise and Amy.
After leaving the group in 1994 Bernie forged a successful career as a television actress becoming best known for her roles in ITV1 police drama The Bill and Channel 4 soap Brookside. She also had success on the West End stage performing Blood Brothers, Flashdance and Chicago.
The Nolans briefly reformed in 2009 with Bernie joining Coleen, Linda and Maureen for a one-off UK and Ireland tour. The Nolan sisters' father Tommy died of liver cancer in 1998. Anne Nolan was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2000, as was Linda in 2006.
Bernie was an active campaigner for cancer charities including Breakthrough Breast Cancer. She leaves husband Steven Doneathy and one daughter Erin.
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