Soul II Soul Singer Melissa Bell Dies at 53

Alexandra Burke (left) vowed to continue competing on “Strictly Come Dancing” per the wishes of her late mother, Melissa Bell. (Dave M. Benett/Getty Images)

Melissa Bell, a former member of the British R&B group Soul II Soul, has died.

Bell’s daughter, Alexandra Burke, tweeted a family statement about the 53-year-old singer’s passing Tuesday, Aug. 29.

“Our beautiful mother gained her wings on Monday 28 of August 2017, a day that changed our lives forever,” the statement read. “We will never forget her unconditional support, charisma, strength and courage throughout her life. We are eternallly proud and thankful to call her our mummy.”

Burke, who won Britain’s “The X Factor” in 2008, added in a separate statement that her mother was proud of her part in Britain’s “Strictly Come Dancing.” The celebrity and professional dancing competition is what “Dancing With The Stars” is based on.

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Earlier this month, Burke posted on Instagram about how much she admired her mother, who joined Soul II Soul in 1993 and sang lead vocals on the single “Wish,” that landed at no. 24 on the UK’s Official Charts that same year.

The cause of Bell’s death has not been revealed, however, Burke has detailed her mother’s health struggles in the past. In a 2013 interview, Burke said Bell had been fighting severe kidney failure for five years as a result of diabetes.

Bell was on dialysis for eight hours a day and while Burke was able to drop $25,800 to renovate her home for her mother’s treatments, she couldn’t donate a kidney to Bell.

“I’ve tried three or four times,” she told the Daily Mail. “But Mum made the choice and shut down the discussion because the doctors said it could mean I wouldn’t be able to conceive. She didn’t want to restrict me from having my own life. But I was willing to adopt because I want to do that anyway.”

As Burke mourns her mother’s death, Soul II Soul, best known in the U.S. for their hit “Back to Life,” acknowledged its former co-lead singer on Twitter.

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