Much-loved entertainer Bernie Nolan has lost her battle with breast cancer, aged 52. The second youngest of the famous Nolan sisters died on 4 July.
The singer’s husband of 17 years Steve Doneathy will be joined by her many fans in mourning her death. This year brave Bernie stunned doctors by defying predictions that she wouldn’t live past February.
PHOTOS FOR FULL GALLERY
In 2012, when she was given the devastating news that her cancer had returned the performer told !: “There’s no point dwelling on it. I’ve got to fight it, be positive and get on with it.”
The person she was most heartbroken to be leaving behind was the couple’s darling 13-year-old daughter Erin (below). She spent as much time as possible with the teenager in the months leading up to her death.
“When I take her to bed, we have big long chats and I sing to her still,” said Bernie. “That’s when she tells me everything.”
Bernie, who first hit the big time performing hits such as I’m in the Mood for Dancing with her family band, was first diagnosed with the disease in 2010.
Following chemotherapy and breast reconstruction, the mother of one thought she had beaten it, announcing in February 2012 that she was free of cancer.
Tragically, that summer the Dublin-born star was told that the cancer had returned to her left breast, brain, lungs, liver and bones.
Until shortly before the end, Bernie carried on doing what she loved most – performing. She starred as Mama Morton in Chicago and then the pantomime Sleeping Beauty, even as she continued with treatment.
She started her professional life singing in clubs and pubs with her parents, sisters (below) and brothers in Blackpool. In their heyday The Nolans sold millions of records. It was during a Nolans tour that Bernie met her husband, who is a drummer.
When the dancefloor-fillers petered out she left, reinventing herself in the Nineties as TV actress, tackling strong dramatic roles in Brookside and The Bill.
Like all big families, they had their ups and downs – two of the bunch, Anne and Linda also had cancer. Through it all their baby sister maintained her sunny, irrepressible spirit.
In her final interview with ! Bernie talked about her ‘glass half full’ philosophy. “I’ve always been positive, even as a kid. I’ve always thought, ‘Life is great and you should live it to the fullest.”