Terry Crews Hopes 'AGT' Honors Nightbirde in New Season After Her Death: 'She Affected Everyone'

"The AGT Family is truly a family and we were following her throughout this whole thing and she's in Heaven and that's all I can say," Terry Crews tells PEOPLE exclusively

Nightbirde, Terry Crews
Photo: Trae Patton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty

America's Got Talent host Terry Crews is remembering the incredible legacy that season 16 standout Nightbirde is leaving behind after her death.

The singer, born Jane Marczewski, died on Sunday at age 31 after a battle with cancer. TMZ was the first the report the news.

"I have to tell you the thing she said on stage which was, 'You can't wait until life isn't hard anymore before you decide to be happy.' It was one of the most inspirational things I've ever witnessed in my life," Crews, 53, tells PEOPLE exclusively on the set of Nickelodeon's new Golf Special, Slime Cup, which premieres sometime this summer.

At the time of her AGT audition, which was filmed last summer, the singer told audiences that she had a two percent chance of survival due to cancer in her lungs, spine and liver.

"The obstacles which she was facing in the middle of all of this and she just showed nothing but happiness, nothing but gratefulness for every moment — it just really reminded me just what life is all about and the fact that she passed, it made me just go, 'My God. She blessed the Earth like an angel would,' and that's all I can say," Crews continues. "We love her. The AGT Family is truly a family and we were following her throughout this whole thing and she's in Heaven and that's all I can say."

"We love her. Our condolences to her family," he adds. "Just hearing that news today, it was very, very emotional. It still is. She affected everyone. Everyone! In the most positive, life-affirming way. It was so beautiful."

With that in mind, Crews says he hopes the NBC competition series honors Nightbirde's legacy in the upcoming season.

"We have a new season of AGT coming up and I think it would be great to do something to just really highlight who she is, what she is," he says. "She never stopped making music. She never, ever stopped! You know what I mean? Oh my God, it's just inspirational — and a lesson."

Trae Patton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty

Adds Crews, "It's a lesson for us just how to live our lives and really enjoy and go for everything that you know while you're here and she did that. She did that."

At this time, Crews is finding happiness while filming Nickelodeon's new Golf Special, Slime Cup, alongside his 17-year-old son Isaiah.

"This is a blast. First of all, it was always a dream of mine," he tells PEOPLE of working with his son. "He's doing what I do and to watch him — he's so good! He's the best kid ever."

When news of Nightbirde's passing first broke, Crews was among those who honored her with social media tributes. Alongside a photo of the singer, the actor wrote: "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."

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During the show's 16th season last year, Nightbirde received judge Simon Cowell's Golden Buzzer. The honor allowed her to immediately enter the live shows. But she later withdrew from the show a few weeks later after revealing her health took a "turn for the worse," ultimately hindering her ability to compete on AGT.

Nightbirde had previously released two EPs and multiple singles, including the original song "It's Okay." The track earned her millions of views on YouTube and an abundance of streams on various music platforms.

Updated by
Lanae Brody
Lanae Brody Author Bio

Senior Reporter Emerging Content, PEOPLE

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