X Factor star's Soul II Soul singer mum dies
The mother of X Factor star Alexandra Burke, Melissa Bell, has died, her family has announced.
Bell enjoyed a long career in music, singing lead vocals for Grammy-winning act Soul II Soul.
She died on Monday and is understood to have been aged 53.
Burke, who is due to appear in the upcoming season of Strictly Come Dancing, said her mother would have wanted her to “carry on” and appear in the BBC programme, as she revealed her loss.
Burke wrote on Twitter: “Mummy has always been my biggest supporter and was over the moon when I told her I was doing Strictly.
“It was always a dream of hers that I would one day be part of the show and I know that she would have wanted me to carry on xx.”
Bell’s family said in a statement: “It is with the heaviest and saddest of hearts that the family inform you our beautiful, funny and loving mum, Melissa Bell has passed away.
“Our beautiful mother gained her wings on Monday 28th of August 2017, a day that has changed our lives forever.
“We will never forget her unconditional love, support, charisma, strength and courage throughout her life. We are eternally proud and thankful to call her our mummy.
“We would be grateful if you could respect our privacy at this difficult time.”
Bell joined Soul II Soul in 1993 after founder Jazzie B heard her debut solo single Reconsider.
The group’s single Wish, on which she recorded lead vocals, featured on their greatest hits album Volume IV in the same year. It peaked at number 24 in the UK singles chart.
She went on to release more solo singles before forming a new band Soul Explosion.
The Islington Tribune reported in 2008 that Bell suffered from kidney disease and needed regular dialysis which sometimes made it difficult for her to watch her daughter take part in the talent show she went on to win.
In 2015, Bell told The Guardian that she had refused a kidney from her daughters as “it may hamper their chances of having children”.
Burke told the newspaper at the time: “It was difficult at first, but now it feels normal to check on her every day. I would love to help her and she says I can donate a kidney after I have kids, but not before.
“Mum’s illness means that I don’t take a day for granted.”