The Wanted's Tom Parker dies from brain tumour aged 33

The Wanted’s Tom Parker dies from brain tumour aged 33: Married father-of-two passes away peacefully with family by his side today after two-year battle as heartbroken wife Kelsey says: ‘He fought until the very end’

  • Boyband singer Tom Parker died earlier this afternoon aged 33 following a battle with brain cancer 
  • The Wanted singer’s passing was confirmed by his wife Kelsey via social media and other band members
  • ‘He fought until the very end,’ Kelsey said in a touching tribute on Instagram alongside a picture of their family
  • Parker revealed last week he was writing a memoir about life and battle with cancer set for a summer release
  • He was a staunch advocate for more brain tumour funding after going public with his diagnosis in Oct. 2020
  • Tributes to the fallen star have flooded in from fellow bandmates, musicians, celebrities and fans 

Tom Parker, singer of boy band The Wanted, has died aged 33 following a battle with brain cancer.

The tragic news was confirmed by his wife Kelsey, 32, who he leaves behind along with their two children, Aurelia, two, and Bodhi, one. 

Kelsey said today: ‘It is with the heaviest of hearts that we confirm Tom passed away peacefully earlier today with all of his family by his side.

‘Our hearts are broken. Tom was the centre of our world and we can’t imagine life without his infectious smile and energetic presence.

‘We are truly thankful for the outpouring of love and support and ask that we all unite to ensure Tom’s light continues to shine for his beautiful children.’

She went on to thank everyone who has cared for Tom during his illness, adding that he fought the disease until the very end.  

A statement posted on the band’s official Instagram account read: ‘The whole Wanted family are devastated by the tragic and premature loss of our bandmate Tom Parker, who passed away peacefully at lunchtime today surrounded by his family and his band mates. 

‘Tom was an amazing husband to Kelsey, and father to Aurelia and Bodhi. He was our brother, words can’t express the loss and sadness we feel. Always and forever in our hearts.’

The 33-year-old singer’s death comes just one week after he revealed he was in the process of writing a tell-all memoir amid his battle with brain cancer.

Tom took to Instagram last Tuesday to share the news with his fans and announce that the book would be released in July.

He said that the book, called Hope, isn’t going to be about ‘dying’ but about ‘living’ and ‘finding hope’ no matter what situation you are in.

The tragic news was confirmed by his wife Kelsey, 32, whom he leaves behind along with their two children, Aurelia, two, and Bodhi, one (Kelsey’s Instagram post pictured)

Tom Parker and his then fiancee Kelsey Hardwick arrive at Jurassic Park live at the Royal Albert Hall in London in November 2016

File photo dated 30/06/12 of Tom Parker from The Wanted performing at the Olympic Torch Relay concert, in Birmingham. The Wanted star Tom Parker has died at the age of 33 after being diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour, the band has announced

File photo dated 12/09/10 of (back row, left – right) Siva Kaneswaran, Tom Parker, Jay McGuiness, (front row, left- right) Max George, Nathan Sykes of The Wanted backstage at the Help For Heroes Concert at Twickenham Stadium, south west London

This image, taken from a reel shared on Tom Parker’s official Instagram account, shows the singer recovering from an operation related to the disease in a hospital gown

In the final picture posted on his Instagram account before his death, Parker shared this snap of him on stage with his bandmates

Tom was given just 12 months to live when he was diagnosed with stage 4 glioblastoma in 2020 at the age of 31. Yet in October 2021, a year after he went public with his diagnosis, he was continuing to make public appearances and used his fame to advocate for more funding for brain tumour research, which only receives around one per cent of total cancer research funding (image of a young Tom Parker shared on Instagram by his wife Kelsey)

 

Heartfelt: In a lengthy caption Kelsey said she ‘couldn’t imagine life without his infectious smile and energetic presence’

WHAT IS A GLIOBLASTOMA AND JUST HOW DEADLY IS IT? 

Glioblastoma is considered the most aggressive tumor that can form in the brain. 

Patients have a 10 percent chance of surviving five years after their diagnosis, according to figures. 

The average lifespan is between 14 and 16 months.

Three adults per every 100,000 will be struck down with a glioblastoma, says The American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS).

It is most commonly found in men aged 50 to 60, and there is no link between developing glioblastoma and having a previous history with other cancers.

WHAT IS THE TUMOR MADE OF? 

The tumor is made up of a mass of cells growing quickly in the brain, and in most cases patients have no family history of the disease.

It won’t spread to other organs, however, once it is diagnosed, it is nearly impossible to target, surgeons claim.

WHAT TREATMENT IS AVAILABLE? 

Because the tumor likely already spread deep into the brain by the time it is diagnosed, the cancerous tissue is incredibly difficult to remove. 

Surgeon will only ever remove the tumor, or part of the tumor, if it won’t do any damage to the surrounding brain tissue.

Dr Babcar Cisse, a neurosurgeon at the Weill Cornell Brain and Spine Center, told Daily Mail Online in July 2017: ‘By the time a glioblastoma is diagnosed, microfibers can spread to the rest of the brain which an MRI would not spot.

‘So even if the main tumor is removed and the patient receives radiation and chemotherapy, it will come back.’ 

GRADING A GLIOBLASTOMA

Brain tumors are graded from between one to four, depending on how fast they grow and how aggressive they are.

Malignant tumors are either given a high-grade three or four, while benign ones are given a lower grade one or two. 

SYMPTOMS

Patients typically complain of symptoms such as confused vision, trouble with memory, dizziness and headaches.

The symptoms are somewhat nonspecific, and vary from person to person, and may not persist. 

The disease is therefore impossible to diagnose based on symptoms alone.

Tom was diagnosed with stage 4 glioblastoma and went public with his diagnosis in October 2020.

Last week, upon revealing a draft cover for his memoir, he shared a sweet video of an animated book flipping through pages, which contained photographs of Tom and his family.

In a caption alongside the post, he revealed: ‘Hi, I’m Tom Parker, a lot of you know me as one fifth of The Wanted, but I am also a father, a husband, and a son, that’s battling brain cancer. 

‘My book, coming this July, is not about dying: It’s a book about living. It’s a book about finding hope in whatever situation you’re dealt, and living your best life no matter what.’

Tributes for The Wanted singer have already flooded in.

Tom’s bandmate Siva Kaneswaran wrote on Instagram: ‘Hey Tom, hope you’re having a blast up there.

‘I am so grateful that I had a chance to witness your true courage. It has been a pleasure of my life Tommy Boy.

‘Thank you for letting us see you light up the world. Talk to you soon and see you later. Love you brother x’

Union J singer JJ Hamblett called Tom ‘an incredible artist and real family man’, tweeting: ‘I am speechless! 

‘Such a cruel, cruel world… RIP Tom.. you will be missed but never never forgotten’.

Howard Donald from Take That – a band Tom had idolised as a member of a tribute act, also sent his condolences to the family of The Wanted star.

He tweeted: ‘So young and so sad. RIP @TomParker from @thewanted. Strength and love to his family.’

Reality TV star and presenter Rylan Clark tweeted: ‘I’ve just seen the news about Tom and that’s absolutely gutting. He was such a good’un. So sad to hear. Sending my love to Kelsey and the kids. Awful news.’ 

And noting his own father’s death following a battle with cancer last year, former Strictly Come Dancing star James Jordan wrote: ‘Just heard that Tom Parker passed away, the same wicked disease that took my father. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.’

No one expected a former member of tribute act Take That II to become part of one of the UK’s biggest boy bands but Tom managed to defy odds.

Tom was given just 12 months to live when he was diagnosed with stage 4 glioblastoma in 2020 at the age of 31.

Yet in October 2021, a year after he went public with his diagnosis, he was continuing to make public appearances and used his fame to advocate for more funding for brain tumour research, which only receives around one per cent of total cancer research funding.

Throughout his adult years Tom was instantly recognisable to many teenager and young people thanks to the success of his band.

The Wanted released their first album in October 2010, which reached number four in the UK Albums Chart and created three UK top 20 singles.

Their later singles released in 2012 helped the band find success across the pond in the United States and Canada, with their hit Glad You Came becoming the highest American chart entry by a British boy band at that time.

Heartbreaking: Tom Parker has died aged 33 following a battle with brain cancer

Parker is pictured right alongside bandmate Max George in this image shared on Parker’s Instagram mere weeks ago

Tom Parker of The Wanted is pictured at Global Radio Studios, London, UK – 12 Oct 2021, one year after he went public with his brain cancer diagnosis

Parker in recent months was forced to use a wheelchair and remain seated while playing with the band

File photo dated 18/06/13 of (left to right) Tom Parker, Nathan Sykes, Max George, Siva Kaneswaran and Jay McGuiness of The Wanted during a press Q&A at the premiere of their reality E! TV series ‘Wanted Life’, at the Charlotte Street Hotel in central London

A few years later in 2014 after the band announced a hiatus, Tom turned his attention to television, reaching the semi finals of Celebrity Masterchef in 2015 before coming in third in skiing show The Jump in 2016. 

One year later, the singer went back to the stage and was cast as male lead Danny Zuko in the UK tour of Grease in 2017, which led him to postpone his wedding to Kelsey Hardwick.

The pair had planned to tie the knot in 2017 after getting engaged the year before. 

Speaking to Hello magazine at the time, Tom said: ‘I don’t want to take two weeks off, get married, do a week on honeymoon, then go back on tour.

‘I’m letting Kelsey put everything into place and I’ll just give her my credit card when needed.’

Despite his successful career Tom was not met with beginner’s luck when entering the music industry – he was first rejected by X Factor judges during the first round of auditions.

Tom told The Metro in 2011 that he received all nos from the judges before he had reached the chorus of his song choice (Flying Without Wings by Westlife) which left him ‘shattered’.

Following his failed attempt to make it to X Factor, Tom assumed the persona of Mark Owen in tribute band Take That II which saw him ‘singing to 50-year-old men smoking in the corner of working mens clubs’.

His audition for The Wanted took a more positive turn despite, according to Tom, turning up to the audition looking ‘chavvy.’

Tom said to Metro: ‘I turned up wearing a tracksuit with my hood up, so I looked a bit chavvy, but played Handbags and Gladrags’ on the guitar. Maybe our manager Jane saw something in me no-one else did at the time.’ 

Tom and Kelsey have had two children: daughter Aurelia born in 2019 and son Bodhi, who was born after Tom’s cancer diagnosis in 2020.

The singer said: ‘The kids are the one thing to get me up in the morning, they bring that positivity out of me.’

File photo dated 11/12/11 of (left to right) Jay McGuiness, Nathan Sykes, Max George, Tom Parker and Siva Kaneswaran of The Wanted during T4’s Stars of 2011 event, at Earls Court, London

The Wanted star Tom Parker has died at the age of 33 after being diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour, the band has announced. The singer revealed his diagnosis in October 2020 and underwent chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Parker is pictured left along with The Wanted band mates

Tom and Kelsey had been open with how cancer treatment was impacting him and forced him to spend extended periods of time away from the children.

Kelsey wrote on Instagram that she and Tom had been in Spain for treatment which ‘meant the longest time away from our babies.’

She added: ‘You don’t realise how someone having cancer really affects the whole family.’

After his diagnosis. Tom spent three months in bed, saying to a camera in his room that all he could think was ‘I’m just going to lie here and die.’

He said: ‘It’s so hard to think about the future because I genuinely don’t know what it holds any more.’

But after coming to terms with the diagnosis, Tom began preparing for more stage performances and in September 2021 held a special charity concert at the Royal Albert Hall where all proceeds went to Stand Up To Cancer and The National Brain Appeal.

Tom said: ‘I was absolutely shocked to discover that only one per cent of the annual research budget for cancer goes towards finding a cure and treatment for glioblastoma.

‘That’s why I’m supporting The National Brain Appeal – I want to use my voice and platform to do something about it and help in any small way I can.’

Following on from the concert Tom released a documentary called Tom Parker: Inside My Head for Stand Up To Cancer which shows him and his family navigating his illness and preparing for the concert.

This year Tom joined his bandmates on their tour celebrating their greatest hits and for some shows he performed on stage sitting on a throne visibly frail.

Yet Tom’s illness did not take away from how much he revelled in his time on stage playing music.

Tom said in a Stand Up To Cancer video: ‘I was just a kid from Bolton, and then I got in a band and travelled the world, it was absolutely incredible.

‘I’m very proud of where I’ve got to in my life.’

Hugh Adams, head of stakeholder relations at Brain Tumour Research, said: ‘We are deeply saddened to learn of Tom’s passing and send our deepest condolences to Kelsey, their children and all of Tom’s loved ones. His loss will be greatly felt by his bandmates from The Wanted, their fans and throughout the pop world.

‘Since being diagnosed with a glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) in October 2020, Tom has spoken openly and honestly about the impact of the disease and in doing so, has helped to raise awareness of the devastation caused by brain tumours.’

After referencing Parker’s fundraising and campaigning work, he added: ‘Tom’s tragic death highlights the fact that brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer yet, historically, just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has historically been allocated to this devastating disease.

‘We remember Tom for his passion, intelligence, eloquence and determination in the face of such adversity and will continue to remember him as we focus on our vision of finding a cure for all types of brain tumours.’

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