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Strictly Come Dancing judge Shirley Ballas opens up about her brother committing suicide

The Strictly Come Dancing judge lost her brother 14 years ago

by Yasmin Harisha

Shirley Ballas is set to hit our screens this weekend after becoming the new Strictly Come Dancing head judge. In a new interview, the dancer has openly revealed the difficulties in her upbringing and the heartbreak in her family history. Shirley, 56, has spoken about the day her brother, who "was her father figure", committed suicide. She told the Sun Online: "My brother took his own life when he was 44." Speaking about her attachment to him, she said: "He gave me away when I got married the first time and the second time."

The chic and stylish dance queen believes her late brother, David, is the one to take credit for her becoming Britain's most popular ballroom dancer. He inspired and encouraged her to become the best she could, escaping her modest background. She said: "I can always remember him saying to me from a very young age, 'You're going to be a dancer.'" Shirley was heartbroken when her brother took his own life. Suffering from depression, David died 14 years ago. "He was my life and my soul when we lived on the housing estate," she said.

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Shirley (right) joins as the new Strictly judge

Who is Shirley Ballas? Everything you need to know

Set to replace head judge Len Goodman, Shirley has previously worked on the hit US show Dancing with the Stars and has an impressive track record of dance coaching. "I love ballroom dance, my favourite style being the Argentine Tango. I also love the Viennese Waltz and the way it can be done the American style where it breaks apart. But of course my heart lies with Latin, I love the Latin," she said.

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The Queen of Latin, who was "born to dance", is using her talents to give the casting vote in the dance-offs. As a judge, she will be looking for quality. "It's all about the four F's; fun, firm, feisty and fair," she said.

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