03/27/2009 AT 7:15 PM ET
Reality star Jade Goody wasn’t known for having any particular show biz talents – but that’s exactly why people loved her, explains comedian Russell Brand.
“One of the charges often leveled at Jade was that she was just a normal girl with no trade or practiced skills,” Brand writes in a tribute on his Web site. “Well people didn’t care and our heroes are not prescribed to us, we have the right to choose them and the people chose Jade.”
Goody died in her sleep last Sunday after battling cervical cancer.
For Brand, 33, the death hit close to home. He recalls his mother’s struggle with cancer; when she was first diagnosed, he was about the same age as Goody’s elder son. “My Mum, Thank God, did not die and whilst her cancer returned several times; each time more frightening for me as my innocence waned to be replaced with dread, she lives still, so I can but imagine the sad confusion of [Goody’s] two bereaved boys.”
“Jade’s defining characteristic was her easy warmth that ingenuously enveloped folk,” Brand writes, adding that the public was drawn to the unlikely TV star due to her tough working class background, as opposed to many celebrities whose fame was “bequeathed by virtue of wealth and birth.”
He added that Goody, who was at times vilified in the press, “wanted to be accepted, loved, redeemed, and now through her early death, she is.”