America's Got Talent / YouTube
Jane Marczewski, known by her stage name “Nightbirde,” died at the age of 31 after a four-year battle with cancer.
The world met Nightbirde when she auditioned for Season 16 of America’s Got Talent in 2021. She performed her original song, “It’s OK,” which was inspired by her cancer battle.
Nightbirde’s audition was made all the more emotional when Simon Cowell awarded her his golden buzzer.
Sadly, Nightbirde’s health deteriorated, and she had to drop out of the competition. Her performance of “It’s OK” was the first and last time she sang on the AGT stage.
But although Nightbride only sang on AGT once, she touched the hearts of millions. People kept up with her on social media, where she shared posts about the challenges she faced.
The last post Nightbirde published was on January 11. She wrote:
“Honestly, things have been pretty brutal. But this is a photo of myself from last week where I felt pretty, and alive, and awake, and human, and real. I needed that. We’re all a little lost and it’s alright.”
Nightbirde’s family released a statement to PEOPLE following her death. It read:
“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. 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. 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. We thank everyone for their messages of love and support.”
The AGT judges and host Terry Crews reacted to the news of Nightbirde’s death:
“Heartbreaking news to hear about Nightbirde, she was an extraordinary person, so brave, so talented,” Simon Cowell said. “She made a huge impact on AGT and the world, her courage was incredible and her determination to fight this terrible illness was remarkable. Rest in peace, Jane. I am sending my love to her family.”
“We are saddened to learn about @_nightbirde’s Passing,” wrote Terry Crews. “Our Condolences goes to her Closest Family & Friends in such of This difficult time. We Love you, Nightbirde.”
Terry later spoke with PEOPLE about Nightbirde’s passing. He looked back on her audition, saying:
“I have to tell you the thing she said on stage which was, ‘You can’t wait until life isn’t hard anymore before you decide to be happy.’ It was one of the most inspirational things I’ve ever witnessed in my life.”
Terry admired how Nightbirde “showed nothing but happiness, nothing but gratefulness” despite everything she was going through:
“...It just really reminded me just what life is all about and the fact that she passed, it made me just go, ‘My God. She blessed the Earth like an angel would,’ and that’s all I can say,” Terry said.
Terry offered his condolences to Nightbirde’s family and said, “Just hearing that news today, it was very, very emotional. It still is. She affected everyone. Everyone! In the most positive, life-affirming way. It was so beautiful.”
There’s no doubt Nightbirde left a mark on the world. She’s so dearly missed.