Justin Timberlake Mourns the Loss of His Longtime Backup Singer: ‘My Heart is So Heavy’

by Leanne Stahulak

Justin Timberlake’s friend and longtime backup singer Nicole Hurst passed away earlier yesterday. The pop singer shared photos and videos of her in an Instagram post along with a heartbreaking message of love and grief.

“My heart is so heavy,” Timberlake wrote in his caption. “We lost a beautiful soul this week. Nicole lit up every room she walked into. On and off the stage she was a constant source of joy and positivity.”

Hurst joined Justin Timberlake’s band (which he calls the “Tennesee Kids”) years ago. She also sang with Kelly Clarkson, Janet Jackson, JAY-Z, and Bruno Mars.

“Some things feel so unfair and we will never understand why they happen,” Timberlake continued in his post. “What I do know is that we were blessed to laugh with her, to travel with her, and to experience her infectious smile and love for a life filled with music.”

We see that smile shine bright in several of the photos and videos Timberlake posted earlier of Hurst. They call each other “bro” and “sis” several times, and in one video, Hurst says, “I love this man!” Justin Timberlake clearly loves her too.

“Nicole, it’s not enough to say that I am going to miss you dearly. Thank you for your light. I will do my best to carry that with me. I love you, my sister. Forever family and forever a TN Kid,” Timberlake ended the post.

ET Canada said earlier that Hurst died of cancer, which Hurst’s friend Melisa Musique confirmed in a touching Instagram message.

Nicole Hurst, Backup singer for Justin Timberlake, Discusses Cancer Struggles

Earlier, Musique posted a picture of a note she wrote to late backup singer Nicole Hurst.

“Nicole… I really can’t process this…been trying all day…maybe I’ll say more later…maybe I won’t… All I know is. I wish I knew running into you in Amsterdam was the last time, I saw you…I would’ve squeezed you even tighter and told you how much you mean to all of us… love forever my girl!!!” Musique wrote. She ended the message with “#FckCancer.”

Justin Timberlake’s backup singer opened up about her cancer journey with ABC 13 Houston in 2015. Apparently, she learned about it in July 2013, right before touring with Timberlake and JAY-Z.

“I was diagnosed with Stage 2 triple-positive breast cancer,” she said. “I had four months of chemo followed by my surgery, which I had a mastectomy. Even while I was on chemotherapy, my tumor doubled in size.”

But the singer was in remission by the time she talked to ABC 13 Houston in 2015. Fast forward to August 2019, when Hurst suddenly opened up on Instagram about a horrible new development.

“These pictures aren’t throwbacks from 2014, but from this year, literally from the 2nd day in January when my world was once again completely flipped upside down,” Hurst wrote. The pictures she posted showed her in the hospital, getting her head shaved, getting scanned, and rocking a beanie while touring with Timberlake.

“What was discovered was not a cancer recurrence, but breast cancer that somehow found its way to my brain,” Hurst continued. “Forcing me to pull the emergency brake on my life and sent me immediately into whole-brain radiation treatment to destroy everything that was trying to destroy me.”

 She ended the post with, “The last picture is a throwback to yesterday, my birthday!! And I’m celebrating every victory and soaking in the blessing of being able to celebrate another year of life, and many, MANY more to come! I hope this post will inspire you to live courageously in your present moment and recognize that with its many ups and downs, life is still beautiful.”