Former American’s Got Talent contestant Jane ‘Nightbirde’ Marczewski has died at age 31, six months after her battle with cancer led her to withdraw from the competition show.
The singer, from Ohio, who used the stage name Nightbirde, passed away on Sunday following months of treatment after the disease had spread to her lungs, spine, and liver, a source told TMZ.
Marczewski amazed the AGT judges and viewers alike when she performed a poignant original song, ‘It’s Okay,’ for her audition in June, earning a Golden Buzzer from an emotional Simon Cowell.
Less than two months later, she stunned everyone again by announcing that she had to quit because her cancer had ‘taken a turn for the worse.’
Former American’s Got Talent contestant Jane ‘Nightbirde’ Marczewski (pictured in January) has died at age 31 after her battle with cancer
Marczewski, who went by the stage name Nightbirde, amazed the AGT judges and viewers alike when she performed a poignant original song on the competition show in June
AGT judge Howie Mandel paid tribute to Marczewski on Twitter Monday, saying she was ‘such a bright inspirational light in all our lives.’
‘We must continue to live and learn from her words and lyrics,’ he added. ‘As much as I feel horribly about her passing I feel lucky to to have met, heard and known her.’
Host Terry Crews offered his condolences on Instagram.
‘We are saddened to learn about @_nightbirde‘s Passing,’ he captioned a photo of Marczewski on the show. ‘Our Condolences goes to her Closest Family & Friends in such of This difficult time. We Love you, Nightbirde.’
Judge Heidi Klum also shared a picture of Marczewski on her Instagram Stories, writing: ‘We love you. Rest in peace @_nightbirde.
Marczewski (pictured in December) reportedly passed away on Sunday following months of treatment after the disease had metastasized
The Ohio native was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2017 and was in remission when it returned a few years later
Marczewski (pictured in October) was given just a two percent chance of survival in 2019, but she beat the odds and was cancer-free until the disease returned for the third time in 2021
DailyMail.com has reached out to Marczewski’s family for comment.
Marczewski was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2017. She was in remission when it returned in a metastatic state. In 2019, a doctor gave her a two percent chance of survival, estimating she only had three to six months to live.
She once again beat the odds and was in remission when the cancer returned in 2021 for the third and final time.
Marczewski had previously opened up about her cancer battle during an interview with former CNN host Chris Cuomo in August after she dropped out of the show.
She revealed that her liver was ‘more cancer than liver’ at that point, admitting that she had a ‘bad, bad month’ since she got the news.
AGT judge Heidi Klum paid tribute to Marczewski on her Instagram Stories on Monday
Host Terry Crews also offered his condolences on Instagram, writing: ‘We love you, Nightbirde’
Meanwhile, judge Howie Mandel tweeted that she was ‘such an inspirational light in all of our lives’
But just as she charmed viewers with her remarkably upbeat attitude on AGT, she also demonstrated an admirably positive mindset on CNN, explaining how she managed to avoid feeling ‘bitter’ thanks to her ‘rebellious hope.’
Marczewski, who hailed from Ohio, became an instant fan favorite when she appeared on AGT last summer, sharing the story of her cancer battle and singing an original song about being OK while feeling lost.
She earned effusive praise from the judges, with the infamously tough Cowell appearing to tear up before hitting the Golden Buzzer, sending her directly to the live show’s quarterfinals.
But weeks later, she announced that she was leaving the competition because her cancer battle had become too ‘demanding.’
Though she kept a brave face, she admitted on CNN that she’s was having a hard time.
Marczewski became an instant fan favorite when she appeared on AGT in June, sharing the story of her cancer battle and singing an original song about being OK while feeling lost
She earned effusive praise from the judges, with the infamously tough Simon Cowell hitting the Golden Buzzer to send her directly to the live show’s quarterfinals.
‘I have been curled up in a ball like a little cocktail shrimp having an A-plus pity party for myself, cause it’s just been a bad, bad month,’ she said.
‘It’s been really pretty devastating.
‘I’m not a quitter, so it was really really hard for me to say that I couldn’t finish the show,’ she added.
Marczewski shared that about a week before she had received the ‘shocking news’ that her cancer regrowth had taken over her lungs and liver.
While she admitted that it was difficult, she continued to cling to optimism.
‘But, like I said, I’m planning my future, not my legacy. And some people would call that blind denial but I prefer to call that rebellious hope. And I’m not stopping any time soon,’ she said.
She explained that she didn’t ask ‘why me’ because ‘it’s a waste of time’ and insisted ‘you do have a choice’ about whether or not to become bitter about misfortune
AGT judges Howie Mandel, Heidi Klum, and Sofia Vergara gave Marczewski a standing ovation after her audition
‘When we’re going through stuff like this where, really, the pain is too much to bear sometimes, it makes no sense at all. If we can hold onto a dream for the future, sometimes that’s all we need to get through.
‘And I believe in dreams for all of our lives that originated in the imagination of God. And just think about, “Don’t you wanna see what happens if you don’t give up? Don’t you wanna see what happens?” That’s what I keep saying to myself,’ she went on.
‘When you’re faced with so many blows to the gut in a row — like I have over the past several years — you find out what you’re made of, in a sense. And you’re given the opportunity to choose what you want to become.
When asked if she ever wallows and asks, ‘Why me?’ Marczewski said she doesn’t bother.
‘I try not to occupy myself with questions that are too big for myself to answer,’ she explained. It’s a waste of time. Just because it’s a mystery doesn’t mean it’s the absence of meaning.
Less than two months after her incredible audition, she announced that she had to drop out of the competition series to focus on her health
She explained in her Instagram post that her ‘fight with cancer is demanding all of my energy and attention’
Klum also shared her post on Instagram, along with a touching message of support
‘Sometimes the mystery means there’s more meaning there than we can even understand. And so I accept that and I let go of the questions because it’s too heavy,’ she added.
‘When you go through something that is so devastating, makes no sense, there’s no answers, you kind of have the choice: Am I gonna become bitter? Or am I not? You do have a choice. You do get to decide what becomes of you, in a sense.
‘And I’ve decided in my most painful moments to keep my eyes open, because it’s easier to close your eyes and give up and forget it. But there’s so much beauty and poetry to be seen in the world if you are willing to sign off on the pain that it takes to stay awake in the middle of something that hurts so bad. That’s all this is. Anybody can do it.’
Marczewski noted that while she was stepping back from AGT, she was not giving up her music.
‘This cancer’s gotta go… which I really believe is gonna happen soon. And after that, I’m gonna write the most amazing record you’ve ever heard in your life,’ she said, adding that she has continued to write songs.
Marczewski opened up about her cancer battle during an interview with former CNN host Chris Cuomo in August after she dropped out of the show
‘I have been curled up in a ball like a little cocktail shrimp having an A-plus pity party for myself, cause it’s just been a bad, bad month,’ she admitted
‘I have so much beautiful stuff that I’m so excited to share, and I know that I will,’ she said.
She even shared lyrics from one tune ‘that means a lot,’ which has a chorus that goes: ‘I still got some magic in me, I can’t feel it but I still believe. The music stopped but I can still sing, I’m pretty beat up but I still got dreams.’
Marczewski had first revealed on stage at her audition that she had cancer of the lungs, spine, and liver.
‘It’s important that everyone knows that I’m so much more than the bad things that happen to me,’ she said.
When Simon got emotional after her performance, she told him: ‘You can’t wait until life isn’t hard anymore before you decide to be happy.’
But on August 2, she announced on Instagram that she’d had to quit.
‘Sharing my heart with the world on AGT has been an honor and a dream come true,’ she wrote.
‘I’m not a quitter, so it was really really hard for me to say that I couldn’t finish the show,’ she explained
‘My liver now is mostly cancer. More cancer than liver in there right now,’ she said
‘My point of view this summer has been astounding. What a miracle that the pain I’ve walked through can be reworked into beauty that makes people all over the world open their eyes wider.
‘Since my audition, my health has taken a turn for the worse and the fight with cancer is demanding all of my energy and attention. I am so sad to announce that I won’t be able to continue forward on this season of AGT. Life doesn’t always give breaks to those that deserve it — but we knew that already.
‘Thank you for all your support, it means the world to me. Stay with me, I’ll be better soon. I’m planning my future, not my legacy. Pretty beat up, but I’ve still got dreams,’ she concluded.
Klum shared the post on Instagram, along with a touching message of support.
‘@_nightbirde we will miss your energy, your passion, and your beautiful voice at the live shows,’ Klum wrote. ‘The entire #AGT family loves you and we’re all rooting for you,’ the model wrote, along with three red heart emojis.
Her fellow judge Sofia Vergara also shared the Instagram post, along with a message of her own.
‘Here’s to planning for a bright future @_nightbirde. Your energy, your smile, and your amazing voice will be missed at the #agt live shows, but we’re rooting for you and your big dreams!’ Vergara said.