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Jane ‘Nightbirde’ Marczewski, ‘AGT’ star, dies of breast cancer at 31

Jane "Nightbirde" Marczewski is shown in shock after receiving a Golden Buzzer during her audition for "America's Got Talent.". Trae Patton / NBC via Getty Images

Jane Marczewski, the America’s Got Talent contestant known by her artist name “Nightbirde,” died Saturday after four years of living with breast cancer. She was 31.

Marczewski inspired audiences around the world last year when she performed an original song during an audition for the America’s Got Talent judges in June.

An emotional Simon Cowell gave her the coveted “Golden Buzzer” for her performance, and she told him: “You can’t wait until life isn’t hard anymore before you decide to be happy.”

She continued: “I have a two per cent chance of survival, but two per cent is not zero per cent. Two per cent is something, and I wish people knew how amazing it is.”

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Obtaining the Golden Buzzer vaulted Nightbirde straight into the live show performances and her original song, It’s Okay, garnered millions of views on YouTube and streaming clicks on music platforms.

Marczewski, an Ohio native, was first diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer in 2017. Her treatment for the disease put her in remission for a short period of time, but the cancer eventually spread to her liver, lungs and bones, and she was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer in 2019.

Simon Cowell and Nightbirde are seen onstage following her audition performance. Trae Patton / NBC via Getty Images

She left America’s Got Talent a few weeks into the show, telling her fans that her health had taken a “turn for the worse.”

“It’s so hard for me to not be on the @agt stage for the finals this week,” she wrote in an Instagram post at the time. “I bet you never saw someone win so hard and lose so hard at the same time. This isn’t how the story was supposed to go.”

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“I spend a lot of time squeezing my eyes shut and trying to remember what I believe; counting my breaths in the grief cloud; burying my face into God’s T-shirt. I remind Him sometimes, (and not kindly) that I believed Him when He told me the story He wrote for me is good, and that He never stops thinking of me,” she continued.

Despite leaving the show, Marczewski persisted, and continued to create music and share her story with her followers on social media.

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AGT judge Terry Crews shared his condolences on Instagram on Sunday.

“We are saddened to learn about @_nightbirde’s Passing. Our Condolences goes [sic] to her Closest Family & Friends in such of [sic] This difficult time. We Love you, Nightbirde,” he wrote.

Nightbirde’s family confirmed her death over the weekend “with the deepest heartache.”

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“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 Okay’ and inspired millions of people around the globe with her messages of faith and never giving up,” the family said in a Facebook post Tuesday morning.

“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.”

In her last Instagram post, dated Jan. 11, Marczewski shared a message of hope for her fans, using a few lyrics from her hit song: “We’re all a little lost and it’s alright,” she wrote.

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Approximately 20 to 30 per cent of people diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer will go on to face a metastatic diagnosis.

Metastatic breast cancer, also known as Stage IV breast cancer, is a terminal cancer for which there is no known cure. Those diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer have an average life expectancy of two to three years.

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