‘Irreplaceable’ Bernie Nolan dies at 52 surrounded by loved ones

Bernie Nolan has passed away at 52 after a three year battle with cancer.


by Maggie Hitchins |
Published on

A spokesperson for the family broke the news in a statement that read ‘"Bernie passed away peacefully this morning with all of her family around her. The entire family are devastated to have lost beloved Bernie, a wonderful wife, adoring mother and loving sister, she is irreplaceable."

Bernie was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010 but received the all clear in 2012 after receiving chemotherapy and undergoing a mastectomy.

Tragically the disease returned months later and spread to her brain, bones, lungs and liver.

Husband Steve Doneathy said in May this year that his wife had stopped chemotherapy and had entered palliative care.

Bernie, pictured in 2011, is survived by her husband Steve Doneathy and daughter Erin
Bernie, pictured in 2011, is survived by her husband Steve Doneathy and daughter Erin

Bernie and Steve married in 1996 and have a daughter Erin, aged 14 (pictured above).

For twenty years Bernie was the lead singer of the group The Nolans with her sisters Anne, Linda, Maureen and Coleen. They had hits in the late 1970s and early 1980s, their most popular being ‘I’m in the mood for dancing’.

In 1994 she left the group to pursue an acting career. She starred in West End productions such as Blood Brothers and Flashdance and toured the UK with Chicago. She also had roles in Brookside on Channel 4 and played Sheelagh Murphy in ITV’s The Bill.

Bernie spoke openly about her battle with the disease

In 2005 she returned to the music business and released an album of power ballads, All By Myself.

2008 saw Bernie, Maureen, Linda and Coleen get back together for a reunion tour. Bernie was the third sister to battle cancer with Anne and Linda beating the disease.

Bernie (second from left) with the Nolan sisters in 1986

Bernie released her autobiography in May this year. Serialised in the Mirror, Bernie explained how telling her daughter was the hardest thing she ever had to do. Together, they created a bucket list of things to do in her final months to make their remaining time as a family extra special.

Bernie also revealed that she wanted to write her autobiography because she didn’t want to be defined as a cancer patient. “Cancer has become part of my journey but it’s not the whole story”.

“There’s so much more to me than that. I’m a wife, mother, daughter, singer, actress, sister, friend and auntie. Those are the roles I want to define me.”

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us