Strictly 2020: Shirley Ballas pays tribute to brother 17 years after he died

Strictly Come Dancing judge Shirley Ballas has paid a moving tribute to her brother 17 years after he took his life.

Taking to Instagram on Saturday, the 60-year-old shared a number of pictures of her brother David, as she marked the day that he died.

The snaps also appeared to show Shirley as a child pictured alongside David.

‘It’s hard to imagine that 17 years ago today my wonderful brother David took his own life,’ Shirley penned in the heartbreaking post.

‘There is not a day goes by that you are not in my thoughts. With tears flowing I’m remembering how much I miss you and your cuddles, how strict you were with me so I would be safe and how you made me laugh.

‘We will be reunited one day in a place so beautiful. Until then I’m carrying you very close in my heart in all I do.’

‘We were tremendously close in so many ways and the pain will never go away today and every day my heart goes out to my mother Audrey,’ Shirley added.

‘So difficult to have lost your only son, to my beautiful niece Mary and my son Mark and to all who loved you I only wish you had known how much you were loved and what an impact you made in so many peoples lives.’

The Strictly judge went on to encourage people who are struggling with their mental health to speak up and to not suffer in silence.

‘I have shared this today not only to remember my dear brother but because suicide and depression are tough subjects to talk about,’ she continued.

‘If someone you love is hurting , needing company or just a shoulder to cry on, let them know you are there and most importantly let them know you love them.

‘If it’s YOU feeling this way it’s nothing to be ashamed of reach out connect with family and friends or ask for help.’

She concluded: ‘I’m sending healing energy to all who have lost loved ones and to any one who is suffering in silence. RIP David some of your favourite songs I’ll be listening to today.’

Last year, Shirley, who climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in aid of Comic Relief, revealed how her late brother ‘spoke to her’ when she started to become ill.

She told The Sun at the time: ‘One day when we were climbing really quite far up, because of the altitude I felt I could hear my brother talking to me.

‘I was overwhelmed with how tired I was. You start to become disorientated. I felt I could hear my brother going, “Shirley”. It was really strange. ‘

But I had to remember I was doing this for David and anybody who’s got mental health issues.’

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