Girlband G.R.L. have spoken out about the tragic loss of their friend and fellow band member Simone Battle.
The singer's body was discovered in her West Hollywood apartment last September, and the cause of death was later revealed to be suicide. The tragedy occurred just one day before the band's breakout hit Ugly Heart began to storm Europe's top ten.
G.R.L's other four members – Lauren Bennett, Paula Van Oppen, Natasha Slayton and Emmalyn Estrada – faced a tough decision over whether to quit or keep going without Simone, but they revealed they felt they had to go on.
"I think it would be the wrong message for the band to give up now, especially to people who are suffering from something like this. You have to be strong and move forward no matter what happens in your life," Lauren told The Sun.
Simone's family encouraged the girls to keep going despite their loss. "We’ve been in touch with Simone’s mum. I’ve personally spoken to her a lot through this," said Lauren.
“We have her support for the band to move forward — she says she wants the best for us four girls.”
Simon Cowell was one of the first to pay tribute to Simone, who made it to the final 17 of the US X Factor in 2011.
I am so sad to hear about the news Simone Battle has passed away. She was such a fun nice person. It's such a loss. Rest in peace Simone.
— Simon Cowell (@SimonCowell) September 6, 2014
G.R.L's latest single, Lighthouse, was written in memory of Simone. The touching video, released today, features images of the late singer throughout her childhood.