Strictly's Shirley Ballas opens up on the heartbreaking day she lost her brother

The Strictly Come Dancing judge spoke about her reasons behind a charity wing walk.

Watch: Shirley Ballas discusses doing 'terrifying' skyathlon in honour of her late brother

Shirley Ballas has opened up on the traumatic day that she lost her brother to suicide and why she is taking on a wing walk in tribute to him.

The Strictly Come Dancing head judge has talked previously about her brother's death and its devastating impact on her family, and on Monday morning she told BBC Breakfast how the day she learned he had passed away was etched in her memory.

Ballas, 62, is due to start a "skyathlon" on Tuesday (8 August) in aid of charity Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM), which will include a ride on the world's fastest zipwire, a wing walk at 700ft above ground, and a 1,300ft sky dive.

The Strictly Come Dancing judge became emotional on BBC Breakfast as she spoke of being
The Strictly Come Dancing judge became emotional on BBC Breakfast as she spoke of being "extremely nervous" of the challenge. (BBC) (BBC / Breakfast)

Admitting to being "terrified" of the daring stunts, Ballas said it was all in memory of her brother David, who took his own life more than 20 years ago.

Explaining that she and her mother wanted to prevent other families from going through the same pain that they had, she recalled the heartbreaking day that David died.

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Ballas told hosts Jon Kay and Rachel Burden: "I remember the day it happened with my brother. The doorbell went at 6am and there were two policemen there. I had let my son stay out for the first time that night.

Shirley Ballas at home in London as she prepares to take on the Skyathlon challenge for the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM). Shirley is taking on the Skyathlon - a zip line, a wing walk and a skydive in August to raise awareness for CALM, after losing her brother and close friends to suicide. Picture date: Wednesday June 21, 2023. (Photo by Jeff Moore/PA Images via Getty Images)
Shirley Ballas will take on a skyathlon challenge. (PA Images via Getty Images) (Jeff Moore - PA Images via Getty Images)

"The door opened and I saw the two policemen, and they said 'Mrs Rich', so I stood aside and my mother walked forward and they informed her of the death of her son.

"I will never forget that moment. I still get emotional to this day. It never leaves you. These are loved ones. These are cherished children. This was my mum's boy."

Former dance champion Ballas said that she had wanted to take on a charity challenge that she was completely uncomfortable with to make the maximum impact.

Shirley Ballas Strictly head shot
The Strictly head judge is gearing up for a new series. (BBC)

She said: "I didn't want to bake a cake, or cut grass. I wanted people to think I am absolutely bonkers but understand why I am doing it. My mum knows why I am doing it. We miss my brother more than you could possibly imagine. There is not a day goes by where we don't talk about him."

Ballas also added that she and her mother have supported her niece throughout her life: "We took care of my brother's daughter Mary. She has just got engaged so that's very exciting.

"She lost her mum to alcoholism and her father to suicide and she has turned out to be my hero. My rock."