Shirley Ballas pays emotional tribute to her brother David on the 16th anniversary of his death

Isobel Frodsham

Shirley Ballas has paid an emotional tribute to her brother after the 16th anniversary of his death.

The Strictly Come Dancing head judge, 59, described David Rich as “a strong character” and “a protector” and said his loss was “unimaginable” to their family.

Rich took his own life on December 5, 2003 after a battle with depression. He was 44.

Writing on Instagram, she said: “December 5th 2003 will be etched in my memory for ever until it’s my turn to depart this life. It was that tragic Friday when my brother decided to take his own life.

“My brother was everything to my mum and I. He was a strong character, a protector and we as a family came first.”

She added: “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.”

She then urged those who may be suffering to seek help, adding: “To you my dear brother David you will always be in my heart, I miss you sooo much. RIP precious one.”

She then posted a video of her son Mark playing The Beatles’ Yesterday on the guitar, saying it made her think of David.

Earlier this year, Ballas was one of the nine celebrities who conquered a Mount Kilimanjaro climb in aid of Comic Relief.

She took on the challenge in memory of David.

For confidential support call the Samaritans in the UK on 116 123, visit a local Samaritans branch or visit them online at

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