The Wanted star Max George has penned a moving tribute to bandmate Tom Parker following the devastating loss of his ‘best bud.’ Father-of-two Tom tragically passed away on Wednesday at the age of 33 following a courageous battle with an inoperable brain tumor.
In an emotional letter addressed directly to his friend Max described his friend as a “lion” and praised his “courage and dignity” in the wake of his cancer diagnosis. The singer from Bolton died, surrounded by his family and bandmates, 17 months after being diagnosed with a grade four glioblastoma.
Max also shared a collection of photos on Instagram showing the pals sharing embraces and laughs together. He wrote: “Tom, my brother, my boy, my band mate, my best bud.. You lit up so many lives all over the world but I can only speak on behalf of mine.
“From the minute I met you, I knew this was gonna be a special chapter in my life. I was right.
READ MORE: ‘He was our brother’: The Wanted stars pay tribute to bandmate Tom Parker who has died aged 33
“We did everything together, some amazing things, some outrageous things. I’m so proud of what we achieved as band mates and as brothers.”
Referring to Max’s widow Kelsey he said: “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 wouldn’t believe.’ You two really are like peas and carrots.”
Max, 33, added: “Thank you for choosing me as your friend. It was an honor from day one. I’m so grateful I was with you until the very end.
“The courage and dignity I have witnessed over the last few months surpassed the lion I already knew you were.
“The huge hole now left in my life will forever be there, but I know your spirit will live on through your two beautiful babies, your wonderful wife, our music, your fans and in my heart.”
Max says he is ‘heartbroken beyond words’ and unable to imagine life without his friend. He said: “But whatever I do going forward, even on my darkest days, I can always smile and say ‘I shared the stage with Tom Parker.’
“I am going to miss you so much. I love you mate. Always. George.”
The heartbreaking news came just two weeks after Tom joined the reunited boyband on stage at the AO Arena for the final song of the show in Manchester.
Tom, Max and fellow The Wanted stars Nathan Sykes, Siva Kaneswaran and Jay McGuiness took an indefinite hiatus in 2014 and they delighted fans by announcing in September that they were reforming.
The band scored two number one singles and a string of top 10 hits and albums after forming in 2009. Their biggest hit Glad You Came in 2011 was also a massive hit in America.
They performed together for the first time in seven years at London’s Royal Albert Hall for Stand Up To Cancer and The National Brain Appeal followed by the release of a greatest hits collection and a UK tour. Nathan described Tom as “the most passionate, funny, driven and inspiring person you could wish to meet”.
And Siva wrote: “Thank you for letting us see you light up the world.”
Tom’s diagnosis came shortly before he and his wife Kelsey, who married in July 2018, welcomed their second child, a son named Bodhi in October 2020. They also have a daughter Aurelia who they welcomed in July 2019.
“It is with the heaviest of hearts that we confirm Tom passed away peacefully earlier today with all of his family by his side,” Kelsey Parker said in an Instagram post.
“Our hearts are broken, Tom was the center of our world and we can’t imagine life without his infectious smile and energetic presence. 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.
“Thank you to everyone who has supported in his care throughout, he fought until the very end. I’m forever proud of you.”