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Tuesday 28th January 2020

Strictly's Shirley Ballas shares heartbreaking message on anniversary of her brother's suicide

David took his own life in 2003

Shirley Ballas from Strictly Come Dancing has opened up about the "unimaginable" pain of losing her brother on the anniversary of his death.

The head judge's brother, David, committed suicide on December 5, 2003 at the age of 44.

Taking to Instagram on Thursday, Shirley said the day will "be etched in my memory forever" as her brother was "everything" to the family.

Read more: Strictly's Shirley Ballas reveals she almost DIED climbing Kilimanjaro

She explained, in a video posted for her 156k followers: "As we run into this Christmas time, now, I want to remember [David] as the fun-loving person, the brother that he was, the fact that he was all about family.

"I have so many fond memories of him and there's not a day goes by that I don't think about him."

She wrote in the caption: "My brother was everything to my mum and I. He was a strong character, a protector, and we as a family came first.

Shirley said she thinks about her brother every day (Credit:

"It's unimaginable to have lost him and he is in our thoughts on a daily basis. This loss of my brother never goes away, little things daily remind me of him - a certain piece of music, little things his daughter does, memories of him all over my home.

"I want to keep those memories close to my heart, they are my personal warm feelings that keep me close to his spirit."

Writing further, Shirley said she continues to ask herself why he died.

To you my dear brother David you will always be in my heart, I miss you sooo much.

She continued: "Sometimes people can outwardly seem fine and happy and inwards they are struggling. I knew nothing of men's mental health back then but have dedicated these years to educate myself on the subject.

"We have come so far in mental health awareness. To all who have lost a loved one, my heart is broken for you. To those suffering in silence, please seek help. You are not alone."

Shirley concluded: "To you my dear brother David you will always be in my heart, I miss you sooo much. RIP precious one."

Last year, Shirley revealed how she and her mother Audrey had learned to love Christmas again after years of associating it with the grief of losing David.

Shirley has been a judge on Strictly since 2017 (Credit: BBC)

Read more: Strictly fans demand ex judges return after Shirley Ballas furore

In a chat with You magazine, she said: "There was no way we could enjoy Christmas without David. I couldn't believe he wasn't there, eating his treble helpings of Christmas dinner with 10 glasses of milk. After David died, Mum threw away all the decorations."

But joining Strictly in 2017, when she replaced previous head judge Len Goodman, helped Shirley "reinvent" the festive season in her mind.

She said, of the "sparkly merry-go-round" nature of the show and the "supportive" messages from fans: "It's all helped me reinvent Christmas, so for the first time in years, the house will feel celebratory like it used to."

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