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Celebrities pay tribute to Irish singer Bernie Nolan

LONDON (Reuters) - Celebrities paid tribute on Friday to the Irish singer and TV star Bernie Nolan, who has died at the age of 52 after a three-year battle with cancer.

Nolan was the youngest of the original Nolan Sisters lineup, whose middle-of-the-road pop made the five siblings one of Britain's best known acts from the late 1970s to the mid-80s, with regular appearances on various television shows.

The band is best known for its 1979 hit "I'm in the Mood for Dancing", which reached No. 3 in the British charts and No. 1 in Japan.

A statement on Nolan's website said she had died on Thursday with her family around her, an "irreplaceable" wife, mother and sister.

"Peace and love to Bernie Nolan. Thoughts of course with her family," tweeted another pop star-cum-actor, the Australian Jason Donovan.

Nolan, born in Ireland, was involved in the entertainment business from an early age as part of a family troupe that performed in pubs and clubs at night.

Their father Tommy was their manager, and she recalled how he had a volatile temper, especially when drunk.

After his death in 1998, Anne, the eldest sister, revealed that her father had sexually abused her from the age of 11.

Bernie, the lead vocalist on many of the Nolans' recordings, quit the group in 1994 and went on to build a career as an actor, appearing in the soap opera "Brookside" after being spotted in the stage musical "Blood Brothers" in London.

In 2009, she rejoined her sisters for the Nolans' reunion tour but in 2010 she announced she had been diagnosed with breast cancer, the third Nolan sister to have the disease.

After being told she was clear of the cancer, in October last year she revealed that it had returned and had spread throughout her body and was incurable.

Nolan is survived by her husband, drummer Steve Doneathy, and their daughter, Erin.

(Reporting by Belinda Goldsmith; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

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