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The Devastating Death Of AGT's Nightbirde

Jane Marczewski (aka Nightbirde), the singer-songwriter who earned an emotional golden buzzer from Simon Cowell in Season 16 of "America's Got Talent," has died at the age of 31. According to TMZ, Marczewski died on Sunday of cancer-related complications after dealing with the disease for several years.

"We, her family, are devastated by her passing and unimaginable loss," her family said in a statement (via Today). "Those who knew her enjoyed her larger-than-life personality and sense of humor. She had a witty joke for every occasion—even if the joke was on her. Her lasting legacy will be the gift of hope she communicated through music and the strength she found in Jesus."

After learning of Marczewski's death, "AGT" host Terry Crews shared a post to his Instagram page mourning her loss, while "AGT" judge Howie Mandel took to Twitter to share his condolences. "[Marczewski] was such a bright inspirational light in all our lives," Mandel tweeted on Monday. "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."

Nightbirde's story inspired AGT's judges and millions of fans

Marczewski first rose to the national spotlight as a result of her 2021 appearance on "AGT" where she wasn't shy about sharing her cancer diagnosis. When asked how she was doing, Marczewski admitted that metastatic cancer had spread to her lungs, spine, and liver, but added, "It's important that everyone knows that I'm so much more than the bad things that happen to me." Although doctors reportedly only gave her a 2% chance of survival, she also told the judges, "You can't wait until life isn't hard anymore before you decide to be happy."

For her audition, Marczewski performed an original song titled "It's Okay," a tune inspired by her health problems over the course of the prior year. Judges were visibly moved by the performance, with all rewarding Marczewski with standing ovations. After each judge praised her performance for its authenticity and heartfelt nature, Cowell decided to go all in and recognize her with the golden buzzer, immediately sending Marczewski forward to the quarterfinals. Marczewski's song also proved popular among audiences at home, quickly rising to the top of the iTunes charts (via NBC) and earning more than 39 million views on YouTube.

Sadly, Marczewski announced on Instagram in August 2021 that she would be unable to continue on the series as a result of continued health struggles. Despite being forced to drop out of the competition before the live shows, Marczewski called into a later episode of "AGT" to reflect on the massive impact her song had on the public (via YouTube).