Entertainment

Tom Parker went from star of The Wanted to brain tumour campaigner

The musician stayed upbeat and positive during his battle with cancer.

Tom Parker achieved great success as a member of one of the UK’s chart-topping boy bands, later going on to triumph on stage and television.

The singer was born in Bolton in 1988, and during his adolescence fought his way through a number of failed attempts to break into the music industry.

Parker initially auditioned for The X Factor after learning to play the guitar at the age of 16, but did not make it past the first round of the competition.

He abandoned his musical pursuits for a short time to study geography at Manchester Metropolitan University, but later dropped out to have another shot at achieving his dream of becoming a professional singer.

For a time Parker was part of a Take That tribute band called Take That II, before eventually finding success in British-Irish boy band The Wanted.

Tom Parker death
Tom Parker (left) with The Wanted (Ian West/PA)

The Wanted formed in 2009 and consisted of Parker and fellow band members, Jay McGuiness, Max George, Siva Kaneswaran and Nathan Sykes.

Parker and his bandmates released their eponymous debut album in 2010, quickly achieving success as it peaked at number four on the UK Albums Chart. Their debut single, All Time Low, debuted at number one on the UK Singles Chart.

During Parker’s time in The Wanted, the band achieved widespread international success, releasing three studio albums and 15 singles.

In January 2014, The Wanted announced a hiatus in order for the band members to pursue solo projects.

During the break, Parker continued to work on his music career. In 2014, he collaborated with rapper and DJ Richard Rawson, known by his stage name Fazer, to release the track Fireflies.

In 2015, Parker released a solo single, Undiscovered.

Parker also began to explore opportunities in television, participating in the 2015 series of Celebrity Masterchef and, later in 2016, Channel 4’s ski reality show The Jump – in which he finished third.

The Jump 2016
Tom Parker on The Jump (Channel 4)

In 2017, Parker made his stage debut playing Danny Zuko in Grease during a UK tour of the musical.

Parker married his long-term partner Kelsey Hardwick in 2018 and the couple went on to have two children, Aurelia Rose, born in 2019 and Bodhi, born in 2020.

In 2020, Parker disclosed that he had been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour.

Just under a year after his diagnosis, Parker and his bandmates announced that The Wanted would be reuniting to release a greatest hits album in 2021.

The band also revealed they would be performing at a charity concert in support of Parker, marking their first performance together in seven years.

Inside My Head – The Concert, organised by Parker, was held at the Royal Albert Hall and raised money for Stand Up To Cancer and The National Brain Appeal.

Parker and his bandmates released Most Wanted: Greatest Hits in November 2021. The album peaked at number nine on the UK Albums Chart, making it their fourth UK top 10 album.

Shortly before the album’s release, Parker announced that his brain tumour was “stable” and “under control”.

Speaking alongside his wife in October 2021, Parker revealed that they might discuss having their third child in a year or two, but admitted that their “new mission is trying to better the treatment for cancer”.

Parker later revealed how he was “staggered” that better treatments had not been found for those suffering from brain tumours, despite a vaccine for Covid-19 being found within a year.

Throughout his cancer battle, Parker remained upbeat and positive with the support of his wife and bandmates. In 2021, Parker revealed that he “didn’t want to pay cancer any attention”.

He spoke openly about his illness during the lead-up to his charity concert, saying: “It’s not that I’m ignoring cancer but I just don’t want to pay it any attention.

“The more attention you pay it, the more it consumes your life and I don’t want to consume my life.

“I’ve got kids, I’ve got family. So I just try and just ignore it as much as possible.”

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