Twitch’s wife and dance partner Allison Holker leads wave of tributes: ‘We miss you’
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.
Stephen ‘Twitch’ Boss, the former reality star who deejayed on the long-running ‘Ellen DeGeneres Show,’ died Tuesday.
“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 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.”
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“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.”
Newer “SYTYCD” panelists JoJo Siwa and Leah Remini — who served as judges alongside Boss during the latest season of the show — memorialized their beloved colleague on social media.
“My heart is beyond broken ... twitch was a best friend and a mentor not just to me but to SO many,” Siwa wrote on Instagram. “I’ll never forget our time getting to work together on SYTYCD, he became such a light in my life. Someone I’ve looked up to since I was born turned one of my best friends. Twitch always had the best advice. We had SO many laughs, smiles, and even cries together.
“I know you’re in a better place now but man we are all gonna miss the hell outta you. Sending my most love and prayers to His beautiful wife and 3 perfect kids. ... thank you for sharing your gift with the world. I’m ‘so esssicted’ to see you again one day (A inside joke between us that I will never let go of). Forever the worlds dance dad. Love you brother. ... RIP the legendary Stephen Twitch Boss.”
As ‘heartbroken’ Ellen DeGeneres mourns Stephen ‘Twitch’ Boss as ‘family,’ executive producer Andy Lassner says, ‘Nobody made him smile like you did.’
Both Siwa and Remini posted a series of photos and videos of themselves hanging out with Boss behind the scenes of “So You Think You Can Dance” on Instagram.
“tWitch was always so kind to me and everyone who worked so hard behind the scenes,” Remini wrote. “tWitch was the guy who played and interacted with his fans in the audience during commercial breaks, and he encouraged all the contestants when the cameras weren’t rolling. He had such a passion and love for dance and guiding artists and the contestants on the show.
“tWitch adored his wife, Allison, and their three kids more than anything. He would talk about them all the time with such pride. He had a laugh and smile that lit up the whole room. Rest easy, tWitch; you will leave a big hole in many hearts. My heart goes out to his family, his friends, and to the many people whom he inspired.”
Holker and the “SYTYCD” judges were among many in the dance community who mourned the death of Boss. In the comments section of the couple’s latest Instagram post, ballet dancer and former “So You Think You Can Dance” contestant Alex Wong wrote, “My heart is broken.” Together, Wong and Boss performed one of the most famous “So You Think You Can Dance” routines — a hard-hitting hip-hop number to the tune of Lil Jon’s “Outta Your Mind,” choreographed by Tabitha and Napoleon D’umo.
“I can’t ignore the pain I feel. I am in total shock,” Wong captioned an Instagram selfie with Boss. “Every moment I sit here, the reality becomes more and more real and it hits me harder as I sit here in tears while I type this to you. Stephen you were such a positive and kind person and your energy always lit up the room. I don’t even know what to say.
“From the moment I met you, you were always so caring and I’ve cherished the times we’ve spent together. I won’t forget our laughs on SYTYCD when we first met, 12 years ago, especially you walking me through every detail. Watching you grow throughout the years as an artist and a person has been a gift. I’m glad our paths continued to cross many times friend. You’ve always been someone I’ve looked up to. My heart aches for you Allison, and your family. Wish I could give you one more hug. Dance together one more time. I can’t believe you’re not here now. Love you friend.”
Another “So You Think You Can Dance” alum, Lauren Gottlieb, commented on Instagram, “Heart shattering!!!! Allison my heart is with you!!!!!!”
Others reacting to Boss’ death included musician and filmmaker Questlove, comedians Loni Love, Tommy Chong and Chelsea Handler, rapper Chika, poet Amanda Gorman, author Roxane Gay and writer-producer Steven Canals, as well as actors Kerry Washington, Niecy Nash, Alyssa Milano, Olivia Munn, Jason Alexander, Monique Coleman, Yvette Nicole Brown and Dwayne Johnson.
“I have no words man,” Questlove wrote on Instagram. “May his family find resolution in this dark time. May we all find peace of mind in our everyday lives. Everyday is a winding road & you just may never know who is on the edge. ...
“Take time out for yourselves if you feel like you’re on the edge. ... Take time out for yourselves & sit in silence people. Time literally heals wounds. Rest In Melody Twitch.”
In the comments section of Boss’ and Holker’s most recent dance video, Nash wrote, “Your husband [gave] the world so much joy. I’m so sorry he was suffering this way. ... We are praying for your family.”
“Oh my goodness,” Munn commented, “my whole heart is with you and your family.”
“We are all heartbroken,” Coleman commented. “Sending you deepest condolences and SO much love Allison.”
On Twitter, Love posted videos from Boss’ 40th birthday party, including a clip of him setting goals for a “fourth decade” of “love,” “hope” and “light.”
“A kind soul and a sweet person,” Love captioned the videos. “That is how I will remember Twitch... This was his 40th birthday party .. my heart goes out to his family especially Allison and their beautiful kids.. this is devastating... I love you brother and will miss you dearly.”
“Man I am so sorry to hear the heartbreaking news about Twitch,” Johnson tweeted. “Great guy. Sending his family all the love, light, strength and mana. I’ve lost a lot of friends to the struggle. You never know what’s happening between the ears. So sorry Boss family. Stay strong.”
“The world lost a bright light today,” Washington tweeted. “Twitch brought joy and love to people all over the world through music and through dance. My heart is heavy today for his family and all of those who knew and loved him.”
“tWitch you will forever be a light, a life, a legend,” Gorman tweeted.
“I am so sad at the loss of Steven ‘Twitch’ Boss,” Alexander tweeted. “Never met but his smile, his persona and his shining talent always brought me joy. My sympathy to his loved ones. I wish you and him peace.”
“RIP to tWitch,” Chika tweeted. “went to church with him when i was younger and he was the only person we knew who’d made it out of Montgomery at the time. this is so sad.”
“This is just devastating,” Gay tweeted. “He was 40. He leaves behind a wife and 3 kids and a legacy of joy and beautiful dance. SMH. This is just very sad.”
“He always exuded joy,” Canals tweeted. “You never know what a person is dealing with. Check in on your people. RIP Twitch.”
Wednesday afternoon, former First Lady Michelle Obama wrote on Instagram that she was “heartbroken” to learn about the dancer’s death. She remembered Boss as an “incredible force—someone who radiated kindness and positivity, and made sure that people around him could feel it.”
Obama and Boss collaborated on her Let’s Move! fitness campaign and ran into each other during her multiple visits to “Ellen,” she added.
“We felt his spirit in every dance, every DJ set, every piece of creativity that he brought to life,” she wrote. “My heart goes out to his wife, Allison, and their three children, Weslie, Maddox, and Zaia.”
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