UPDATED with more statements and tributes: Jane Marczewski, the singer known as Nightbirde who found fame on America’s Got Talent last year and chronicled her battle with breast cancer on social media, died Sunday of the disease. She was 31.
The Zanesville, OH, native earned a judges’ standing ovation and the NBC show’s sought-after Golden Buzzer with her audition performance of an original song, “It’s Okay” in June. Just weeks later, in early August, she announced that she was dropping out of the competition, explaining that her “fight with cancer is demanding all of my energy and attention.”
Her family released a statement Monday:
“It is with the deepest heartache that we confirm that after a four year battle with cancer, Jane Marczewski, known to many of you as Nightbirde, passed away on February 19th 2022.
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.
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.
We thank everyone for their messages of love and support.”
Per a statement from America’s Got Talent on Monday: “Your voice, your story, and your message touched millions,” reads “Nightbirde will always be a member of the AGT family. Rest In Peace, Jane.”
Read more tributes below.
During her audition, Marczewski shared that she was dealing with cancer in her lungs, spine and liver. Her audition video, which can be viewed below, has been brought in nearly 30 million views on YouTube. In her August 3 Instagram message announcing her departure from the show, Marczewski wrote,
Sharing my heart with the world on AGT has been an honor and a dream come true. My point of view this summer has been astounding. What a miracle that the pain I’ve walked through can be reworked into beauty that makes people all over the world open their eyes wider.
Since my audition, my health has taken a turn for the worse and the fight with cancer is demanding all of my energy and attention. I am so sad to announce that I won’t be able to continue forward on this season of AGT. Life doesn’t always give breaks to those that deserve it—but we knew that already.
Thank you for all your support, it means the world to me. Stay with me, I’ll be better soon. I’m planning my future, not my legacy. Pretty beat up, but I’ve still got dreams.
In November, Marczewski spoke with CNN’s Chris Cuomo and said her treatment had been going well but that her health was improving only slowly. “It’s happening slow — little by little, day by day,” she said. “I’m getting a little better. I did get a scan result back, and a bunch of stuff that was there disappeared. A bunch of the big stuff has gone down in size so we’re on the way.”
In her most recent Instagram post, on January 11, she wrote, “Honestly, things have been pretty brutal. But this is a photo of myself from last week where I felt pretty, and alive, and awake, and human, and real. I needed that. We’re all a little lost and it’s alright.”
TMZ was first to report the death, citing a source with direct knowledge as saying the cancer had spread.
Marczewski first had been diagnosed with breast cancer in 2017. Following a remission, the cancer returned in a metastatic state.
Information on survivors was not immediately available.
“We are saddened to learn about [Nightbirde’s] Passing,” AGT host Terry Crews wrote on Instagram. “Our Condolences goes to her Closest Family & Friends in [this] difficult time. We Love you, Nightbirde.”
Also today, AGT judge Howie Mandel tweeted his condolences, writing, 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 to have met, heard and known her.”
Heart breaking news to hear about @_nightbirde, she was an extraordinary person, so brave, so talented. She made a huge impact on AGT and the world. Her determination to fight this terrible illness was remarkable. Rest in peace, Jane. I am sending my love to her family. Simon
— Simon Cowell (@SimonCowell) February 22, 2022
@_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 to have met, heard and known her.
— Howie Mandel (@howiemandel) February 21, 2022
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