Strictly's Shirley Ballas heartbroken after close friend's tragic death | The Sun

STRICTLY Come Dancing star Shirley Ballas has been left heartbroken following the death of a close friend.

The 62-year-old revealed designer Luca Sartori had passed away suddenly at the age of 54 – leaving his family and friends shocked.

His partner, Vesa Hietala, broke the tragic news yesterday, writing: “Yesterday I lost the love of my life, my best friend and my partner of 26 years.

“Luca had no known health conditions, but had a seizure of some kind and his heart just stopped. The paramedics tried to revive him for 50 minutes, but sadly he never regained consciousness.

“I have no words to describe my pain and loss.”

Luca was known for helping to create stunning designs for dancers and has dressed some of best known pros in the world.

Shirley was quick to pay her respects, sharing with fans:  “Very saddening news for our industry today. A very treasured loved one was lost. My dear friend Luca. I have known Luca and Vesa many years.

“We have been there for each other when things sometimes got tough in the industry. Luca always made me laugh. He had a unique way of making you feel special. A hug from him helped everything. Those strong Italian arms of reassurance for a woman were unforgettable.”

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The head judge continued: “I’ll always remember having fittings for my evening wear, they were always a treat. Listening to your design and rhinestone ideas throughout the years were my favourite.

“Your relationship with Vesa was the envy of many. A kind and caring duo who loved everything about each other. My condolences to @vesahietala and all of his family and friends. Sending you huge love and hugs at this difficult time.

“I’m going to remember the memories I have for many years and I know many people will carry you in their hearts. Rest In Peace Luca, you were one in a million that has been taken far too soon. Xxx”

Michelle Visage shared her own message to Vesa: “Oh honey I am so very sorry for this great loss….”

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While dancer Luba Mushtak added: “Cant believe it – sending all my love and strength.”

And Katya Jones said: “I can’t believe it! I am so sorry for your loss. Look after yourself Vesa. Thoughts and prayer to you, the family and friends x”

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