Tom Parker, the British singer best known for his role in the popular boy band the Wanted, died Wednesday after being diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor two years prior. He was 33.
“Max, Jay, Siva, Nathan and the whole Wanted family are devastated by the tragic and premature loss of our bandmate Tom Parker, who passed away peacefully at lunchtime today surrounded by his family and his band mates,” the band wrote in a statement. “Tom was an amazing husband to Kelsey, and father to Aurelia and Bodhi. He was our brother; words can’t express the loss and sadness we feel. Always and forever in our hearts.”
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Parker’s wife Kelsey also shared the news of his death on Instagram. “Tom was the center of our world and we can’t imagine life without his infectious smile and energetic presence,” she wrote. “We are truly thankful for the outpouring of love and support and ask that we all unite to ensure Tom’s light continues to shine for his beautiful children. Thank you to everyone who has supported in his care throughout, he fought until the very end. I’m forever proud of you.”
Parker revealed he had a grade IV glioblastoma in October 2020 after suffering multiple seizures. In a post on Instagram at the time, Parker wrote, “We are all absolutely devastated but we are gonna fight this all the way. We don’t want your sadness, we just want love and positivity and together we will raise awareness of this terrible disease and look for all available treatment options. It’s gonna be a tough battle but with everyone’s love and support we are going to beat this.”
Parker embarked on his music career after a brief stint studying geography at Manchester Metropolitan University. His first major gig was performing in a tribute band to Take That, the Nineties English pop group best known for launching the career of Robbie Williams. In 2009, he auditioned for the Wanted, which came together after an extensive audition process.
The Wanted earned early success in 2010 with their self-titled debut album. Their first single, “All Time Low,” hit Number One on the U.K. charts, while the follow-up, “Heart Vacancy” peaked at Number Two. Their international breakthrough came the following year with “Glad You Came,” the second single off their second album, Battleground, which hit Number One in the U.K. and climbed to Number Three on the Billboard Hot 100. The group’s crossover success came at the same time another British-Irish boy band, One Direction, was reaching similar heights in the U.K. and U.S.
While the Wanted wouldn’t score another song as big in the U.S. as “Glad You Came,” they continued to notch Top 10 hits in Britain, including “Lighting” from Battleground and “Chasing the Sun,” “I Found You” and “Walks Like Rihanna” from their final album, 2013’s Word of Mouth. In 2014, the Wanted announced they were going on hiatus, with each member pursuing individual projects.
For Parker, his post-Wanted career included a collaborative single with Richard Rawson, “Fireflies,” a run on the British version of the cooking competition, Celebrity Masterchef, and a 2017 solo single, “Undiscovered.” He also played Danny Zuko in a U.K. touring production of Grease.
Parker — who formed The Wanted with Max George, Siva Kaneswaran, Jay McGuiness, and Nathan Sykes — reunited with his former bandmates last fall. “It’s quite nice going to work, because I get to take my mind off it and just have fun,” he told E! News about reuniting in October.
From Rolling Stone US