By Isabella Wiles
The Wanted star Tom Parker, who was diagnosed with an inoperable Glioblastoma brain tumour in October of 2020, has sadly passed away on Wednesday the 30th March surrounded by his family and friends. The devastating news came after his wife Kelsey Parker posted on Instagram where she declared “Our hearts are broken; Tom was the centre of our world and we can’t imagine life without his infectious smile and energetic presence”. Parker was married to his wife for almost four years, and had two young children, Aurelia and Bodhi.
Parker was best known as a member of popular boy band The Wanted, who rose to fame in 2009 after forming at mass audition by Jayne Collins. The band produced hit songs such as Glad You Came, All Time Low and Chasing the Sun which helped them gain worldwide fame. Young people across the world grew up listening to their music, and for five years fans followed them in their success. Which is why it was inevitable they would be heartbroken to learn of Parker’s death. Just minutes after posting, thousands had posted comments offering their love and support to his wife, children, and fellow bandmates. Celebrities also honoured his life with posts on social media, such as Tom Fletcher, JLS and Ed Sheeran who shared their condolences.
Fans across the UK have organised vigils to pay tribute to Parker, with shrines filled with flowers and balloons being left in cities such as Newcastle and Liverpool. Leicester Square was also filled with fans who sang along to one of the bands hit songs, Gold Forever. Although many have been devastated by the loss, it is heart-warming to see the outpouring of love and support for him and his family, which will be a comfort to them in what will be one of the hardest times of their lives.
Five months prior to his untimely death, Parker spoke out in a film made for Stand Up To Cancer in order to tell his story. He spoke publicly about his diagnosis and how he had learned to live with an illness that was taking over his life. In the documentary film, he revealed that he had suffered from a sudden seizure whilst on holiday in Norfolk which led to him being diagnosed with a Glioblastoma. He painfully described the moment in which he was told, explaining with a teary eye how he was alone in a Norwich hospital when he received the news that he had only 12 months to live. After this he began to tell viewers that his wife and children were his “reason to wake up in the morning” and that his diagnosis had made him view life in a different way because “tomorrow isn’t guaranteed for anyone”.
Parker fought his battle for 18 months before he succumbed to his illness, living 6 months longer than expected, which meant 6 months longer with his children, his wife and his family. It also meant 6 months longer to raise awareness, and tell people his story. In September 2021, he held a special charity concert at the Royal Albert Hall in order to raise money and awareness for Stand Up To Cancer and the National Brain Appeal. The band performed together for the first time since their split in 2014 alongside various other famous artists such as Liam Payne and Becky Hill who came together in support of Tom Parker. He organised this event due to his shock over how low the national funding was for research that goes towards finding a cure and treatment for his type of cancer and wanted to find a way to help.
Just last month, videos from The Wanted’s reunion concert on March the 18th surfaced on TikTok that showed Parker at his final performance. Sat on what looks like a throne joined by his bandmates singing along to Gold Forever, Parker looked visibly ill and was unable to stand alongside his friends but still remained in high spirits. It is hard to comprehend how this performance was just two weeks before his death, with many fans feeling the same. Comments flooded in about this performance after his death with one fan commenting “None of this feels real. The Liverpool show will forever hold a special place in my heart. Tom Parker a legend of his time always and forever”. His final performance will remain a core memory for both his fans and his bandmates for their entire lives.
Tom Parker was an example of someone who fought with everything he had. His positivity and his determination remained throughout his 18 months battling cancer. He took his illness and used it as a way to help other people who were living with Glioblastoma diagnoses by raising funds for more research to find a cure so people with the same cancer could have the opportunity to live. Which was unfortunately not possible for him. His illness brought his fans and bandmates back together which remained a source of strength and emotional support throughout his entire journey. Tom Parker will be remembered for his talent, courage, and his strength for years to come.
Tom Parker was just 33 years old. He still had the rest of his life ahead of him.
Photo Credit: Sky News