'AGT' Star Nightbirde Dead at 31 After Cancer Battle: 'We Love You,' Says Terry Crews

"I have a two percent chance of survival," Nightbirde said on America's Got Talent during her season 16 audition

America's Got Talent
Nightbirde. Photo: Trae Patton/NBC

Nightbirde, an America's Got Talent standout and fan favorite on season 16, has died. She was 31.

The Zanesville, Ohio native, whose real name is Jane Marczewski, died on Sunday, according to TMZ.

"We are saddened to learn about @_nightbirde's Passing. Our Condolences goes to her Closest Family & Friends in such of This difficult time. We Love you, Nightbirde," host Terry Crews shared on Instagram Monday.

"We love you. Rest in peace @nightbirde," judge Heidi Klum shared on her Instagram Story.

"@_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 have met, heard and known her," judge Howie Mandel tweeted.

"Rest in power @_nightbirde. We lost a shining star today you were a true inspiration to all. Sending so much love to all of Nightbirde's family and friends. She was something special," judge Sofia Vergara shared on her Instagram Story.

"Your voice, your story, and your message touched millions. Nightbirde will always be a member of the AGT family. Rest In Peace, Jane," AGT shared on Instagram and Twitter Monday.

At the time of her audition, which was filmed last summer, the singer told audiences that she "had some cancer in my lungs, spine and my liver," adding, "I have a two percent chance of survival, but two percent is not zero percent. Two percent is something, and I wish people knew how amazing it is."

She received Simon Cowell's Golden Buzzer that season, vaulting her straight to the live shows. Her story and original song "It's Okay" resonated with viewers, and earned her millions of views on YouTube, as well as streams on music platforms.

However, she withdrew from the show weeks later, announcing on social media at the time that she was no longer able to compete as her health had taken a "turn for the worse."

When the season 16 finale aired in September 2021, the artist opened up about her complicated emotions and missing AGT in a lengthy Instagram post.

"It's so hard for me to not be on the @agt stage for the finals this week," she wrote. "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."

"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. "I must be a fool in love, because even from under all this debris, I still believe Him. And when I'm too angry to ask Him to sit on my bed until I fall asleep, He still stays."

The songwriter added, "Here we are, you and I, signing off on the risk of REBELLIOUSLY HOPING for better days. Let us not be blind to our own glory. I'm raging and crying and hoping with everyone who needs to rage and cry and hope tonight."

Prior to the season 16 finale, Cowell told PEOPLE exclusively that Nightbirde was "really ill and could not make the finals."

"However, it was always her dream for her music to be heard by millions. That's what's happened off the back of this," Cowell said of the star's AGT audition. "We talk about once every two weeks. It was a difficult conversation we had about does she enter the show or not. I know that she was very down. I called her and I said that, 'Honestly if I was in your position, I wouldn't do it.' Because you don't need the stress right now. It's just not worth it."

At the time, Cowell also recalled telling Nightbirde, "You can always re-enter the show or you don't have to because, at this point, when you put your music out, I think a lot of people are going to buy it. So why put yourself through it. You're not letting anyone down because that's what she kept saying to me. You're not, you're going to be missed but you're not letting anyone down."

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