The Wanted star Max George has hailed his late bandmate Tom Parker as a “lion” and praised his “courage and dignity” following his cancer diagnosis.
The singer died on Wednesday at the age of 33 surrounded by his family and bandmates – 17 months after he was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor.
George shared a series of photos on Instagram showing them hugging, as well as a letter addressed directly to his friend.
He wrote: “Tom, my brother, my boy, my bandmate, my best mate… You have lit up so many lives around the world but I can only speak on my behalf.
“From the moment I met you, I knew this was going to be a special chapter in my life. I was right.
“We’ve done everything together, some amazing things, some outrageous things. I’m so proud of what we’ve accomplished as bandmates and as brothers.”
Referring to Parker’s widow, Kelsey, he added: “I’m also proud that I was there the night you met Kels.
“I remember saying to you, ‘You like her, don’t you?’ …to which you replied, ‘Bro, like you don’t believe it.’ You two really are like peas and carrots.
“Thank you for choosing me as your friend. It was an honor for me from day one. I am so thankful that I was with you to the end.
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“The courage and dignity I have seen over the past few months surpassed the lion I already knew you were.
“The huge hole that is being left in my life now will be there forever, but I know your spirit will live on through your two beautiful babies, your wonderful wife, our music, your fans and in my heart.”
George said he was “indescribably heartbroken” and could not imagine life without Parker.
He added, “But whatever I do in the future, even on my darkest days, I can always smile and say, ‘I shared the stage with Tom Parker.’
“I will miss you so much. i love you buddy Always. George.”
Despite his illness, Parker performed alongside his bandmates – George, Nathan Sykes, Siva Kaneswaran and Jay McGuiness – on their comeback tour weeks before his death.
In his own tribute, Sykes described Parker as “the most passionate, fun, engaging and inspiring person you could ask for”.
Kaneswaran wrote, “Thank you for letting us see how you light up the world.”
Ed Sheeran, former One Direction star Liam Payne and boy band Blue were also among those paying tribute from the music world.
News of Parker’s death was announced on Wednesday through a statement on The Wanted’s social media accounts.
His widow Kelsey said her family’s hearts were “broken,” and she recalled the singer’s “contagious smile and energetic presence.”
They had been married since 2018 and welcomed their son Bodhi in October last year.
Their daughter Aurelia Rose was born in 2019.
https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/music/the-wanted-star-max-george-pays-tribute-to-tom-parkers-courage-and-dignity-41513864.html The Wanted star Max George pays tribute to Tom Parker’s ‘courage and dignity’