Singer Jane Marczewski, known under her stage name as Nitebirde and most known for last year’s performance on America’s Got Talent, has died after a long battle with metastatic cancer, according to TMZ. She was 31.
America’s Got Talent judge Howie Mandel tweeted his feelings Monday morning, saying
“@_nightbirde was such a bright inspirational light in all our lives.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 said she got her name from dreaming of birds singing outside her window at night. The singer, who had been playing locally in the Ohio area for years, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2017—and it was eradicated. But it came back more aggressively in 2021, and she moved to California to seek specialized treatment.
She gained national fame from her June 2021 audition for America’s Got Talent. Before performing, she told the judges, including Simon Cowell, that she would be performing an original song about her fight against cancer.
The haunting and hopeful song went, “It’s okay, it’s okay, it’s okay/if you’re lost, we’re all a little lost and it’s alright” and it prompted Simon Cowell to smash the “golden buzzer.” In August, however, she had to withdraw the competition because of complications from the disease.
After that performance, however, Nitebirde became a sort of folk hero, with a huge social media following that also donated to her medical treatments, not all of which were covered by insurance. She drew in yet more fans when Chris Cuomo, formerly of CNN, became captivated by her, inviting the singer on his show three times. And yet, with every appearance, she grew more gaunt, and sometimes appeared more tired – though she never lost her fighting spirit.
“Don’t you want to see what happens if you don’t give up?” she asked Cuomo in one appearance. “Don’t you want to see what happens?”
Her last Instagram post was from January 11; a photo which she captioned that while things had been “brutal… This is a photo of myself from last week where I felt pretty, and alive, and awake, and human, and real.”
Nitebirde, may you fly high.
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