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Jane ‘Nightbirde’ Marczewski was one of the most inspiring contestants on all of America’s Got Talent. The musician bravely shared her cancer story on the show, which she competed on during season 16 in summer 2021. After her health continued to decline, she was forced to bow out of the show mid-season.
Tragically, Jane died on Sunday Feb. 20, 2022, after the disease spread to her lungs, spine, and liver, per TMZ. “It is with the deepest heartache that we confirm that after a four year battle with cancer, Jane Marczewski, known to many of you as Nightbirde, passed away on February 19th 2022,” her family said in a statement to HollywoodLife.
“We, her family, are devastated by her passing and unimaginable loss. Many remember her from America’s Got Talent, where she performed her song ‘It’s OK’ and inspired millions of people around the globe with her messages of faith and never giving up,” they said in the moving tribute. “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 gave to so many through her music and the strength she found in Jesus,” they also said.
Jane was forthcoming about her health issues when she started her run on AGT. When she auditioned, she revealed her health status, telling the judges she had “some cancer in my lungs, spine and my liver.” Her optimism was truly touching, as she added, “I have a two percent chance of survival, but two percent is not zero percent. Two percent is something, and I wish people knew how amazing it is.”
Jane, an Ohio native with dreams of a music career, made a great impression during her AGT audition, where she performed her song “I’m OK”. There, she received Simon Cowell’s Golden Buzzer, fast-tracking her straight to the live shows along with a standing ovation from the rest of the crew.
The show also issued a statement following her passing. “Your voice, your story, and your message touched millions. Nightbirde will always be a member of the AGT family. Rest In Peace, Jane,” they said.
Simon and company weren’t the only ones who Nightbirde charmed. In less than 48 hours after her audition her original audition song, “It’s OK” became No. 1 on iTunes. Her audition video also became the No. 2 trending video on YouTube.
Unfortunately, Nightbirde’s health took a “turn for the worse” during AGT and in Aug. 2021, she had to quit the competition mid-season. She shared a bittersweet message on the day of the season finale, telling followers, “It’s so hard for me to not be on the @agt stage for the finals this week. I bet you never saw someone win so hard and lose so hard at the same time,” she went on, adding, “This isn’t how the story was supposed to go.”
A post shared by Nightbirde ⚡️ (@_nightbirde)
“I spend a lot of time squeezing my eyes shut and trying to remember what I believe; counting my breaths in the grief cloud; burying my face into God’s T-shirt. I remind Him sometimes, (and not kindly) that I believed Him when He told me the story He wrote for me is good, and that He never stops thinking of me,” Jane continued, before later concluding “Here we are, you and I, signing off on the risk of REBELLIOUSLY HOPING for better days. Let us not be blind to our own glory. I’m raging and crying and hoping with everyone who needs to rage and cry and hope tonight.”
Terry Crews was one of the first to share his sadness on social media. Speaking on behalf of the whole AGT team, he shared a beautiful snapshot of Nightbirde performing and wrote, “We are saddened to learn about @_nightbirde’s Passing. Our Condolences go to her Closest Family & Friends in such [sic] a difficult time. We Love you, Nightbirde.”
A post shared by Terry Crews (@terrycrews)
AGT judge Howie Mandel also shared his condolences, calling Nightbirde, “such a bright inspirational light in all our lives.” He went on, “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 to have met, heard and known her.”