Gorka Marquez reflects on daughter's birthday joy amidst family grief

Gemma Atkinson and Gorka Marquez with their two children
-Credit: (Image: Handout)

BBC Strictly Come Dancing's Gorka Marquez has shared a heartfelt update after experiencing the 'joy' of celebrating his daughter's birthday amidst a challenging week for his family.

His fiancee, Gemma Atkinson, announced the sad loss of their cherished dog, Norman, over the weekend. She posted a touching video on social media featuring photos and clips of Norman from over the years with her, fellow dog Ollie, Gorka, and their two children, Mia and Thiago.

Alongside the poignant post, she wrote: "My beautiful boy Norman has passed away. My heart is broken."

Gemma, 39, also expressed her sorrow that her daughter, Mia, had to endure such a loss, particularly so close to her fifth birthday on Thursday (July 5), reports the Manchester Evening News.

However, when Mia's birthday arrived, both Gemma and Gorka, 33, were determined to maintain as much normality as possible and were seen fully embracing the celebrations.

Gemma posted a delightful video of herself and Gorka, along with their 11-month-old son Thiago, singing happy birthday to Mia as they presented her with a stunning pink cake adorned with flowers and butterflies. "Famila," she captioned the sweet video on her Instagram Story with a red heart.

However, as Mia's birthday celebrations came to a close, she had a heartfelt conversation with her mum that was particularly moving. Gemma recounted: "Thought I'd got through today cry free but Mia just told me in bed she's had a really good birthday but her best present ever would have been if Norman came home."

On the other hand, Gorka took a moment on Friday (July 5) to share his thoughts on his daughter's birthday via his social media. He posted an image of Mia at their Greater Manchester residence, surrounded by presents and a pink balloon shaped like the number '5'.

Accompanying the photo, the Strictly Come Dancing favourite expressed to his 956,000 followers: "Can't believe she is 5 already [face holding back tears emoji]. I could just stand watching her having the BEST day ever. The joy that she has, and the joy she brings us, is endless,".

He also uploaded another post showing Thiago, affectionately nicknamed Tio, joining in the fun of unwrapping gifts ahead of his own first birthday on July 17, with Gorka humorously noting that he was getting some early practice.

This follows a delightful moment for Gorka and Gemma as they enjoyed a new experience with their son. While Mia was at school on her birthday, the couple managed to squeeze in some last-minute tasks, including Thiago's very first haircut.

Gorka shared a charming snapshot of Thiago sitting on his lap at the barber's, captioning it: "Thiago's first hair cut and of course done by the BEST @rossparlane. Not sure who enjoyed it more, Tio or us."