Inside Tom Parker’s brave battle with cancer – from diagnosis to his peaceful last moments

TOM Parker has died of an incurable brain tumour less than two years after his diagnosis, at the age of 33.

The Wanted band member was surrounded by family in his last moments on March 30, his wife, Kelsey, said in a statement.

Tom was one of the 2,000 people in the UK to be diagnosed with a glioblastoma each year. 

It is almost always fatal due to the complexity of treating it, and has an average life expectancy of between 12 and 18 months. 

The dad-of-two left behind two beautiful children who he shared with 30-year-old actress and blogger Kelsey – Aurelia, two, and Bodhi, one.

Tom was best known for being a member of the award-winning British pop group The Wanted, which produced top hits All Time Low and Heart Vacancy. 


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After the band split in 2014, Tom continued working in the music industry and also took part in TV shows such as Celebrity Masterchef and The Jump, as well as playing Danny Zuko in a touring production of Grease.

Tom performed with his four bandmates for the last time on March 15, during The Wanted's The Greatest Hits reunion tour, where he appeared in a wheelchair.

Bolton-born Tom worked hard to raise awareness of the incurable disease that would end up taking his life, determined to leave a positive legacy. 

He has previously said he is shocked at the lack of treatment and funding for brain cancer patients in the UK, having had some of his own therapy in Spain.

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Brain Tumour Research said: “Tom’s tragic death highlights the fact that brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer yet, historically, just one per cent of the national spend on cancer research has historically been allocated to this devastating disease. 

“We remember Tom for his passion, intelligence, eloquence and determination in the face of such adversity and will continue to remember him as we focus on our vision of finding a cure for all types of brain tumours.”


Tom revealed in October 2020 that he had an inoperable stage 4 glioblastoma — which doctors described as “the worst case scenario”.

He was told he was likely to have only 12 to 18 months to live.

It all began with seizures in the summer of 2020, a key warning sign of a brain tumour.

Tom was put on the NHS waiting list for an MRI scan, but then suffered a “massive seizure” on a family holiday to Norwhich. 

Speaking on Loose Women, Kelsey said: "So we believe Tom had a seizure in July [2020].

“But I wasn't actually around, so Tom rang me like, 'I don't really feel well Kels. Something's happened'. I said, 'What do you think Tom?' He said, 'I don't know’.

"So for six weeks we didn't know he had a seizure. Then we went on holiday with the family.

"Me and Aurelia went upstairs to Tom in bed. We were talking, just having a normal conversation, and he said, 'Kels, I feel really hot, my hands are sweating and I'm like, 'Okay.' Next minute, massive seizure.”

Due to Covid restrictions, Tom was unable to have family with him when doctors told him he had an incurable brain tumour at the end of summer, 2020.

Tom, who became a father for the second time not long after, told OK! magazine: "I knew something wasn't right, but I never expected it to be this.

"There are so many stories of people who were given a bad prognosis and are still here five, 10, even 15 years later. We're going to fight this all the way."

Battle with disease

After announcing the devastating news to his fans on Instagram, Tom said he was already in treatment.

Surgery is the first treatment option for a grade 4 glioblastoma, which is sometimes called a glioblastoma multiforme.

However, the complexity of a glioblastoma makes it incredibly difficult for surgeons to remove it without implicating healthy tissue, too.

Tom was unable to have surgery, instead having chemotherapy and radiotherapy to try and shrink the mass. 

He was told in January 2021 that scan results showed a “significant reduction” in his tumour, thanking the NHS and his family, friends and fans who got him through his “darkest days”.

But Tom decided to take his treatment abroad, with a source telling The Sun: ”Tom has been vocal that he doesn't think the options available in Britain are perfect so he's trying elsewhere.”

The NHS standard treatment for glioblastoma patients has been a drug called Temozolomide for the past 20 years.

Tom went to a private facility in Spain and received oxygen therapy, massages and a special diet.

It is thought he was treated at a centre in the Costa del Sol. It charges £8,000 for two weeks or £11,600 for a three-week program. 

Tom was over-the-moon when, in November, he was told his tumour was “stable”.

Posting a picture of himself, his wife Kelsey Hardwick and their children on his social media channels, Tom wrote: "I'm sat here with tears in my eyes as i tell you. We've got my brain tumour under control.

"We had the results from my latest scan…and I'm delighted to say it is STABLE."

Tragically, not long after, Tom’s health suddenly deteriorated.

Raising awareness

Tom worked hard to raise awareness of his tragic disease while fighting it, including writing a book, filming a documentary and organising fundraising concerts.

Fans got a glimpse into how he and his family have coped with the diagnosis in the Channel 4 documentary, Tom Parker: Inside My Head.

It showed Tom organising the star-studded charity concert at the Royal Albert Hall, which raised money for Stand Up To Cancer and The National Brain Appeal.

The gig, in September 2021, was supported by McFly, Liam Payne and Ed Sheeran.

It was revealed in March that Tom would be releasing a book all about his life.

In a heartwarming video on Instagram, he said: "A lot of you know me as one fifth of The Wanted, but I am also a father, a husband, and a son, that’s battling brain cancer.

"My book, coming this July, is not about dying: It's a book about living. It's a book about finding hope in whatever situation you're dealt, and living your best life no matter what.”

Hugh Adams, head of stakeholder relations at Brain Tumour Research said: “Tom has spoken openly and honestly about the impact of the disease and in doing so, has helped to raise awareness of the devastation caused by brain tumours."

Hugh praised Tom for attending the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Brain Tumours (APPGBT) in December 2021, "where he established himself as a passionate advocate for more research into the disease".

Last days

Tom hoped to get fit enough for his band’s reunion tour, which started at the beginning on March, but missed the opening nights.

Despite being in a wheelchair after treatment left him too weak to stand, Tom bravely took to the stage for a number of gigs.

Tom appeared with bandmates Jay McGuinness, Siva Kaneswaran, Nathan Sykes and Max George in London, Bournemouth, Brighton and Manchester – his hometown.

All the while, his bandmates shared heartwarming images and videos of their time together backstage, including of Tom relaxing with a beer in hand.  

Max also shared a sweet snap of the pair lying on the bed, commenting that they were having a "Netflix night".

Tom last appeared at the M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool on March 17, sitting on the centre of stage wearing a pair of sunglasses, in good spirits but too weak to sing.

A frail Tom could be seen mouthing along some of the words to Gold Forever as Nathan and Siva kneeled beside him singing. 

On March 29, two days before his heartbreaking death, the star had shared a tribute to his bandmates on Instagram, calling them the "dream team", followed by a heart emoji.

Kelsey told The Sun on March 30: "It is with the heaviest of hearts that we confirm Tom passed away peacefully earlier today with all of his family by his side. 

"Our hearts are broken.

"Tom was the centre of our world and we can’t imagine life without his infectious smile and energetic presence.

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"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.”

Tom chose to play Oasis' 1994 hit Live Forever as he passed away.

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