Justin Timberlake pays touching tribute to backing dancer following tragic death

Justin Timberlake told Instagram pals that his "heart was so heavy" following the lose of his close pal Nicole Hurst, who he referred to as his "sister".

He took to social media sharing a montage of the friendship in a series of loving snaps and video clips.

Many of the snippets showcased how Justin and Nicole had warmly referenced each other as family.

A backstage clip was also featured in the compilation, which saw Justin and many other performers singing and Happy Birthday to Nicole.

Paying his respects, the hitmaker penned an emotional and heartfelt goodbye to the singer who had supported him on stage during many tours.

He penned: "My heart is so heavy. We lost a beautiful soul this week.

"Nicole lit up every room she walked into. On and off the stage she was a constant source of joy and positivity.

"Some things feel so unfair and we will never understand why they happen.

"What I do know is that we were blessed to laugh with her, to travel with her, and to experience her infectious smile and love for a life filled with music.

"Nicole, it's not enough to say that I am going to miss you dearly. Thank you for your light. I will do my best to carry that with me. I love you, my sister. Forever family and forever a TN Kid."

Back in 2013 the singer revealed her diagnosis prior to attending the Legends of the Summer Stadium Tour tour with Timberlake and JAY-Z.

Speaking about her breast cancer battle in 2015, Nicole told ABC 13 Houston: "I was diagnosed with Stage 2 triple-positive breast cancer."

Sadly for Nicole, after she'd gone into remission the cancer had returned – fiercely spreading to her brain.

In a social media post she said: "These pictures aren't throwbacks from 2014, but from this year, literally from the 2nd day in January when my world was once again completely flipped upside down.

"What was discovered was not a cancer recurrence, but breast cancer that somehow found it's way to my brain, forcing me to pull the emergency brake on my life and sent me immediately into whole brain radiation treatment to destroy everything that was trying to destroy me.

"We all know everybody shares their life's highlight reel, but rarely do we share the 'REAL' reel."

Nicole warned: "The reality is, it doesn't matter how amazing your life looks, your background, net worth, or even who you sing with, life does not discriminate and can turn on you at any time."

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