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Dancer tWitch was 'pure love and light'

LOS ANGELES - Stephen "tWitch" Boss' wife and dance partner Allison Holker paid tribute Wednesday to the late dancer and TV personality.

In a statement provided to the Los Angeles Times, Holker confirmed the death of her husband, with whom she shared three children: Weslie Fowler, 14, Maddox Laurel, 6, and Zaia, 3.

Boss, who was also a DJ and co-executive producer for "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," died by suicide Tuesday in an Encino hotel room. He was 40.

"It is with the heaviest of hearts that I have to share my husband Stephen has left us," Holker, 34, said in her statement. "Stephen lit up every room he stepped into. He valued family, friends and community above all else and leading with love and light was everything to him. He was the backbone of our family, the best husband and father, and an inspiration to his fans."

Boss and Holker each competed on "So You Think You Can Dance" and bonded over their love for dance. Boss, who specialized in hip-hop, and Holker, who specialized in contemporary jazz, celebrated their ninth wedding anniversary Saturday and spread joy by frequently posting videos of themselves dancing together - including one just a couple of days ago - on social media.

"To say he left a legacy would be an understatement, and his positive impact will continue to be felt," Holker continued in her statement.

"I am certain there won't be a day that goes by that we won't honor his memory. We ask for privacy during this difficult time for myself and especially for our three children. Stephen, we love you, we miss you, and I will always save the last dance for you."

Boss also was remembered fondly by DeGeneres, who shared a photo of herself embracing her colleague on the set of "The Ellen DeGeneres Show."

"I'm heartbroken," DeGeneres captioned the image on social media. "tWitch was pure love and light. He was my family, and I loved him with all my heart. I will miss him. Please send your love and support to Allison and his beautiful children - Weslie, Maddox, and Zaia."

In statements provided respectively to People magazine and the L.A. Times, original "So You Think You Can Dance" judges Nigel Lythgoe and Mary Murphy hailed Boss' spirit and work ethic. Murphy recalled Boss auditioning for the competition program and getting rejected multiple times - "but he persevered and came back again."

"My soul is crying and aches on a cellular level. I was a proud mama bear over Twitch. He was hungry, eager, and willing to do the work that would lift him in spirit and means," Murphy said.

"The first time I met Twitch there was something about him. I call it twinkle eye because his eyes shined so much. His smile lit up the stage every time he stepped foot on it! .... He still had to fight for his life that third year with his solo. What I saw next was unlike any solo I had seen before. His music was a symphony that was playing and Twitch started to dance and show us all the instruments being used, but through his body. The musicality of it was mesmerizing and a defining moment in Twitch's dance career."

A "heartbroken" and "devastated" Lythgoe remembered Boss as a widely "loved" and "inspirational" figure.

"He always had that broad smile and a joy of life," Lythgoe said. "How sad, how very sad. ... The dance community will be reeling today but my deepest sympathy goes out to his wife, Allison and their children."

Suicide prevention and crisis counseling resources

If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, seek help from a professional and call 9-8-8. The United States' first nationwide three-digit mental health crisis hotline 988 will connect callers with trained mental health counselors. Text "HOME" to 741741 in the U.S. and Canada to reach the Crisis Text Line.

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