Bernie Nolan, lead singer of The Nolans and star of Brookside, dies of cancer aged 52


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The Independent Culture

The former lead singer of The Nolans, a 1980s girl group best known for hits "I'm In The Mood For Dancing" and "Don't Make Waves", has died of breast cancer aged 52.

Bernie Nolan, a singer and actress, died today, her publicist confirmed.

The singer was first diagnosed with cancer in 2010, but was given the all-clear after chemotherapy and a mastectomy in 2012.

But last year it was discovered that the cancer had spread to her brain, lungs, liver and bones.

A spokeswoman for the family 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.

"They kindly ask people to respect their privacy at this difficult time."

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.

Twitter has been awash with tribute to Bernie since news of her death broke.

ITV presenter Phillip Schofield wrote: "Just heard the very sad news that gorgeous, courageous and inspirational Bernie Nolan has died. Big love to @NolanColeen & all the family x"

Music writer Peter Paphides tweeted: "Poor Bernie Nolan. Wonderfully expressive voice. Don't Make Waves always made me a bit something-in-my-eye-y. #bernienolanrip"

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."

Presenter Lorraine Kelly also paid tribute, tweeting: "Bernie Nolan was a very special woman. Brave, funny and hugely talented. She will be sorely missed. Thoughts with her family and friends."