Tom Parker: The Wanted bandmate Max George pays tribute after ‘best bud’ dies at 33

The Wanted star Max George has hailed his late bandmate Tom Parker as a “lion” and praised his “courage and dignity” in the wake of his cancer diagnosis.

The 33-year-old singer died on Wednesday surrounded by his family and bandmates, 17 months after being diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour.

George has paid tribute for the first time since his bandmate’s death as he shared a series of photos on Instagram showing them hugging and embracing.

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Tom Parker speaking to Sky News in 2021

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.

“We did everything together, some amazing things, some outrageous things. I’m so proud of what we achieved as band mates and as brothers.”

‘Thank you for choosing me as your friend’

George also mentioned Parker’s wife Kelsey, who he married in 2018 and had two young children, Bodhi and Aurelia Rose, with.

“I’m also proud that I was there the night you met Kels,” George said.

“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.

“Thank you for choosing me as your friend. It was an honour 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.”

George went on to say he was “heartbroken beyond words” and unable to imagine life without Parker.

He added: “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.”

Read more: The pop star who used his final months to help others

Parker (left) with the rest of the group in 2013
Tom (left) with the rest of the group in 2013

Despite his illness, Parker still performed alongside his bandmates on their comeback tour weeks before his death.

Along with George, Nathan Sykes, Siva Kaneswaran and Jay McGuiness also shared their tributes to Parker on social media.

Sykes described Parker as “the most passionate, funny, driven and inspiring person you could wish to meet”.

Kaneswaran wrote: “Thank you for letting us see you light up the world.”

His widow Kelsey said the hearts of their family are “broken”, and she remembered the singer’s “infectious smile and energetic presence”.

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