Britain’s Got Talent star Kerri-Anne Donaldson has died aged 38.
Her death was announced by her older sister, Cara, who posted a selection of pictures of the dancer on Facebook.
She wrote: “My heart hurts and my world has just collapsed around me. My beautiful baby sister is no longer with us and I don’t know how to process it.
“I love you Kerri, you’re my best friend, we were inseparable and right now I don’t know how to fill the void. Be peaceful and hold Nan tight.”
Donaldson had been part of the dance troupe Kings and Queens, who reached the semi-finals of series 8 of Britain’s Got Talent in 2014.
During the group’s audition, they danced to a medley of Latin tracks, with Simon Cowell commenting: “We’ve had some great dance groups on this show over the years… I think it was incredible.”
While fellow judge Alesha Dixon said at the time: “If you don’t make it to the final, I’ll eat my arm.”
Other members of the dance troupe included Neil and Katya Jones, who would go on to become Strictly Come Dancing professional dancers.
‘Dance up there with the angels’
Supadance National League, a group that organises friendly matches between dance schools and clubs, also shared news of Donaldson’s death, posting a black and white image of her in a dance costume on social media.
Its tribute said: “The directors of the League are devastated to hear the extremely sad news of the passing of the daughter of their fellow directors Jacqui and Colin Donaldson principals of Diamond Dancecentre and on behalf of all the schools in the League send love and prayers to them, their family and dance school! RIP Kerri Anne.”
Donaldson’s cause of death was not given.
Strictly Come Dancing stars – including Neil and Katya Jones, Kevin and Joanne Clifton, Amy Dowden, and It Takes Two spin-off host Janette Manrara – have all paid tribute to the dancer.
Alongside a photo of Donaldson, Kevin Clifton wrote on Instagram: “Absolutely heartbroken. I’ve known Kerri since we were kids and she was always the loveliest girl. A friend and a dance partner.
“I’m glad we got to dance together this xmas. And that the whole cast of Strictly Ballroom got to work with you in rehearsals. RIP.”
His sister and fellow dancer, Joanne Clifton, wrote: “I have no words… This is just heartbreaking… truly devastating.
“We’ve known you and shared the dance floor with you basically all our lives… Dance up there with the angels Kerri… you beautiful dancer, you beautiful soul.”
Neil Jones shared another professional photo of the dancer, writing: “Kerri Anne Donaldson – remember that name and please never forget it because it belongs to a woman who loved to dance, create and perform, she had the cheekiest laugh and a heart of gold.
“She hated getting in the car with me, but would always listen to my crazy ideas, we shared so many moments and stories and she was always the voice of reason.
“Kerri you were my friend and like my big sister.”
Amy Dowden wrote: “So shocked and sad. Such a beautiful dancer and kind soul! Sending love to all of your family and friends. Heaven has certainly gained an angel. Keep dancing up there lovely.”
While Janette Manrara commented underneath Neil Jones’s post: “How sad to see this news. She was such a lovely person. My heart goes out to all her friends and family during this time.”
Donaldson had most recently worked as a choreographer on The Masked Singer.
She was also one of the professional dancers performing in the pro dance routines on Dancing With The Stars Ireland.