'Wonderful' Nolan Sisters Lead Singer Bernie Nolan Dies Aged 52
Floods of tributes have been pouring in for the likable singer and actress Bernie Nolan.
Bernie Nolan, the actress and former lead singer of The Nolans, has died aged 52 following a long battle with breast cancer. After undergoing chemotherapy and having a mastectomy, Nolan was given the all clear in 2012, though the disease returned months later and spread to her brain, bones, lungs and liver.
"Bernie passed away peacefully this morning with all of her family around her," said a spokesperson for the family, "The entire family are devastated to have lost beloved Bernie, a wonderful wife, adoring mother and loving sister, she is irreplaceable."
Born on 17 October 1960, Nolan grew up in an entertainment troupe of five sisters and two brothers. She turned to acting following 20 years fronting the Irish all-girl group The Nolans, during which time she enjoyed success with hits including I'm In The Mood For Dancing and Don't Make Waves. The former track incorporated a timely disco beat that can still be heard on dance-floors up and down the country today. It featured Bernie's recognisable vocal and would become The Nolan's biggest and best-known hit, reaching No 3 in the UK and topping the charts in Japan, where it sold a monumental 600,000 copies.
She played hairdresser Diane Murray in Brookside from 2000-2002 and joined ITV police drama The Bill as Sergeant Sheelagh Murphy in 2003.
"So sad to hear Bernie Nolan has passed away," tweeted her Brookside co-star Jennifer Ellison, "Such an amazing lady, had the honour of working with her twice will cherish the memories." Gary Lucy, her co-star on The Bill, tweeted, "RIP Bernie Nolan - our thoughts are with her family."
The entertainer took part in ITV's talent show Popstar to Operastar in 2010, reaching the final before losing out to Darius Danesh, of Pop Idol fame. In 2008, Bernie and sisters Maureen, Linda and Coleen agreed a multi-million pound deal for a reunion tour with The Nolans, apparently prompting a feud between the two remaining sisters Denise and Anne. The latter left the group for two years at the height of their mainstream success and was not included in the reunion plans. Denise had left the group before any of the group's chart hits.
"Despite all the drama around it, doing the show was one of the best things I've ever done. It gave us all something to remember for ever," Bernie said in her autobiography Now & Forever, which was published in May this year. She also claimed to have made peace withal five of her sisters over the past couple of years, urging her sisters to do the same.
Bernie Nolan [R] With The Nolan Sisters
The tributes to Bernie continue to pour in, with ITV presenter Lorraine Kelly tweeting, "Bernie Nolan was a very special woman. Brave, funny and hugely talented. She will be sorely missed. Thoughts with her family and friends," while former footballer Gary Lineker said, "Very sad to hear of the passing of Bernie Nolan.A fabulous and fabulously talented lady. Thoughts are with the family."
She is survived by her husband, Steve Doneathy, and their daughter, Erin.
Bernie Nolan Performing With The Nolan Sisters