Strictly's Shirley Ballas pays tribute to late brother on milestone birthday

shirley ballas, strictly come dancing 2023 judges
Shirley Ballas pays tribute to late brotherBBC

Note: The following article contains discussion of themes including suicide.

Strictly Come Dancing's Shirley Ballas has paid tribute to her late brother David on what would have been his 65th birthday.

Sharing a photo of David on Instagram, Shirley wrote a touching message to her brother, who died by suicide in December 2003.

shirley ballas, strictly come dancing 2023 judges

"David, I miss you so very very much," Shirley wrote. "Behind my smile is still a broken heart that I don't think will ever repair.

"But our darling mum, @markballas and @mischiefminky talk about you every single day. Your beautiful daughter Mary is doing amazingly well.

"We know you're looking down on her feeling so proud. She's engaged now to a phenomenally kind man, I know you would love him."

Shirley then 'told' David that her son, former Dancing with the Stars professional Mark, is now a dad, having welcomed son Banksi in December.

shirley ballas, strictly come dancing
Guy Levy - BBC

"Banksi is beautiful and I know you'd just adore him," Shirley continued. "I'm remembering all the times you took care of Mark for me whilst I travelled. You cared about him with so so much love in your heart.

"You will always be in our thoughts David. I feel you are with me each and every day and I believe you're watching over us with that beautiful heart of yours. Till we meet again David. I love you so very very much."

Shirley ended with a message to "anyone struggling". She wrote that "there's always someone there for you" and directed her audience to charities Calm Zone and Suicide & Co.

We encourage anyone who identifies with the topics raised in this article to reach out. Information about how to access support is available via the NHS, and organisations who can offer help include Samaritans on 116 123 or Mind on 0300 123 3393.

Readers in the US are encouraged to or the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

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