Jane Marczewski, the singer originally from Zanesville known as "Nightbirde" who became a sensation after appearing on "America's Got Talent," lost her battle with cancer and died Saturday night at her home in San Clemente, California, surrounded by family. She was 31.
Marczewski's sister, Katelyn, confirmed her death.
Marczewski earned a standing ovation and the "golden buzzer" from AGT judge Simon Cowell in June after singing her original song "It's Okay" about her determination to remain positive and hopeful during the worst of times. A golden buzzer sends contestants on the NBC show straight to the competition's live show.
But just weeks later, Marczewski dropped out of the televised competition, saying her health had taken a turn for the worse and that her fight with cancer demanded all of her energy and attention.
The family announced a celebration of life service will be held at 7 p.m. March 4 at Cornerstone Church of Licking County, 4905 Jacksontown Road, Heath.
When was Nightbirde first diagnosed with cancer?
Marczewski was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2017 and learned three years later that it had metastasized to her liver, lungs, spine and lymph nodes, according to her sister, Katelyn.
Katelyn, 21, said Jane was a Christian who didn't let the grim prognosis define her.
"She said this all the time: 'Life is both beautiful and very sad.' Those two can go together at the same time," Katelyn said. "Life sucks sometimes. But that doesn't mean that there aren't good things that are also happening and that doesn't mean that good things aren't coming."
Jane began singing at an early age, Katelyn said, and performing on "America's Got Talent" meant the world to her.
How did Nightbirde get her name?
Her stage name, Nightbirde, came from a recurring dream in which birds sang outside her window at night.
"On the third night, she woke up from the dream and she actually saw birds outside of her window in the middle of the night, singing in anticipation of the morning," Katelyn said.
Two weeks ago, Jane was admitted to the hospital for a few days, Katelyn said. Their brother, Andrew, had been living with and caring for Jane for the last two years.
When was Nightbirde last in Ohio?
Katelyn said she last saw her sister when the Marczewski family gathered in Zanesville for Christmas. It was clear at the time Jane wasn't feeling well, but she danced with her young nephews all the same.
"She went through hell in the last four years, but she always had a hope that something good was coming," Katelyn said.
Jane drew attention for being open about her struggle with cancer, saying on AGT in June that while she had a 2% chance of survival, 2% wasn't 0%.
"Two percent is something, and I wish people knew how amazing it is," she said.
How Nightbirde, her family and friends watched her appearance on 'America's Got Talent'
Jane, her family and friends watched the airing of the AGT episode she appeared in at The Trout Club in Newark.
“That night was probably one of the top 10 nights of my entire life,” said Amanda Reynolds, special events coordinator of the public resort.
Reynolds said Jane didn't tell most of the watch party attendees about her receiving the golden buzzer.
"She and several family and friends jumped in our pool in celebration. That was really neat to watch," Reynolds said.
What others are saying about Nightbirde
Tributes began to pour in Monday afternoon as news spread of Jane's passing.
Jolyn Carpenter, who once worked with her at an Olive Garden in Heath, wrote on Facebook that although the singer’s time on earth was short, her "purpose was fulfilled" and her voice and spirit will last forever.
“It’s a very sad situation,” Carpenter said. “Jane was an amazing person. She left an imprint on everyone’s heart.”
AGT judge Howie Mandel on Monday remembered the Licking County Christian Academy graduate as a "bright inspirational light," and said, "We must continue to live and learn from her words and lyrics."
@_nightbirde was such a bright inspirational light in all our lives.we must continue to live and learn from her words and lyrics. As much as I feel horribly about her passing I feel lucky to to have met, heard and known her.
— Howie Mandel (@howiemandel) February 21, 2022
AGT host Terry Crews on Instagram simply wrote, "We love you, Nightbirde."
Family starting Nightbirde Memorial Fund to support cancer research and to help those seeking cancer treatment
In lieu of flowers or donations, the Marczewski family suggests contributions may be made to the Nightbirde Memorial Fund, which will create a new memorial foundation to donate to cancer research and give grants/support to those who may be unable to afford the treatment they need.
Kent Mallett of The Newark Advocate contributed to this report.
Monroe Trombly covers breaking and trending news.
This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: 'America's Got Talent' star Jane 'Nightbirde' Marczewski dies at 31