WASHINGTON — Ellen DeGeneres fought back tears and encouraged everyone to check in on their loved ones this holiday season in her first on-camera message since the death of Stephen "tWitch" Boss, her friend and longtime daytime talk show DJ.
tWitch died on Dec. 13 at the age of 40. A report from the Los Angeles County medical examiner confirmed his cause of death was suicide.
"Hey everybody, I just wanted to say the past 11 days have been really tough for everyone, everyone is in pain and trying to make sense of it. We'll never make sense of it. And the holidays are hard, I think, anyway," DeGeneres said in a video posted Friday on Twitter.
"But to honor tWitch, I think the best thing that we can do is to laugh and hug each other, play games and dance and sing. That’s the way we honor him, is we do the things that he loved to do, which is dancing, he loved music, he loved games, so we do that and I know it seems hard, It seems impossible but that’s how we honor him. And hug each other and tell each other we love each other. And let people know we are there for them and check in on people," she added.
tWitch and DeGeneres were first connected in 2010 when the talk show host wanted to recreate a performance from "So You Think You Can Dance." tWitch had placed as a runner-up on season 4 of the dance competition and later judged season 17. He then joined "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" in 2014 and was promoted to co-executive producer in 2020.
tWitch's wife, Allison Holker Boss, shared her own tribute on Wednesday.
"My ONE and ONLY Oh how my heart aches. We miss you so much," Holker Boss said in her first online post since tWitch's death.
In the wake of tWitch's death, filmmaker and actor Tyler Perry opened up about his own suicide attempts. Perry said he tried to die by suicide a couple of times when he was in a dark place. He urged anyone who is going through tough times and similar experiences to reach out to someone.
If you or someone you know may be struggling with suicidal thoughts you can call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) any time of day or night or chat online.
The Associated Press and WXIA contributed to this report.