'Dancing On Ice' pro skater Sean Rice dies aged 49

Professional skater Sean Rice has died aged 49. (PA)
Professional skater Sean Rice has died aged 49. (PA)

Former Dancing On Ice professional skater Sean Rice has died at the age of 49.

The Canadian ice skater appeared on the ITV show in 2011 competing with newsreader Angela Rippon and in 2012 paired with Olympic skier Chemmy Alcott.

Rice competed in the World Championships with his wife and professional skating partner Jodeyne Higgins, with whom he shared an eight-year-old daughter Signey.

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Skater Frankie Poultney confirmed the news on social media, writing: "Pro skaters are heartbroken today, we lost a true larger than life great – an epic skater, a husband, father, and my friend of 20 years,’ Frankie tweeted.

'Dancing On Ice' pro-skater Sean Rice (r) with partner Chemmy Alcott in 2012. (PA)
'Dancing On Ice' pro-skater Sean Rice (r) with partner Chemmy Alcott in 2012. (PA)

"Sean Rice, 20/07/72 – 14/01/22 gone too soon, but we will Love You For A Thousand Years.

"All of our thoughts are with Signey and Jodeyne."

Dancing On Ice stalwart Matt Evers paid tribute, saying: "One of the best… thank you Sean for your gift. This routine from The Professionals on Ice was incredible. It was a pleasure to know and work with you…"

And Chemmy Alcott also remembered her Dancing On Ice skating partner fondly, saying: "Have just heard the tragic news that Sean Rice, my partner from DOI has passed away. The world will miss your amazing energy and you healing hands. All my love to J and S."

A GoFundMe page has been set up in Rice's memory to raise funds to help his widow Higgins and their daughter.

It says: "The world has lost a great man - a coach, son, friend, husband and poppa bear. It’s with immense sadness to say that Sean Rice has passed away.

"Sean was a passionate, larger than life man who would stop and give to anyone who needed him."

The male dancers (left to right) Sean Rice, Andrei Lipanov, Dan Whiston, Sam Attwater, Chico, Christopher Dean, Matthew Wolfenden, Andy Whyment, Matt Evers and Lukasz Rozycki during a photocall ahead of the Dancing on Ice Live Tour 2012 at the Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle.
Pro-skater Sean Rice, far left, on the Dancing on Ice Live Tour 2012. (PA)

Rice and his wife Higgins won bronze at the Nebelhorn Trophy in 1992, and again at the Canadian Nationals the following year.

In 2012 he and ski champion Alcott made it to Week 11 of seventh series of Dancing On Ice, which was won by Emmerdale star Matthew Wolfenden.

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The fourteenth series of Dancing On Ice launched this week on ITV with Strictly Come Dancing's Brendan Cole's debut being hailed as the best "ever" by head judges Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean.

And the Happy Mondays percussionist Bez made history as the first ever contestant on Dancing On Ice to perform wearing a crash helmet.

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