Former “Dancing With the Stars” host Brooke Burke recently suffered a tragic loss — the death of her brother, Tommy, at the age of 44. Here’s what we know about what happened and the tributes that are pouring in on social media.
Tommy Died The Day After His 44th Birthday
In an emotional Instagram post full of photos of her brother, Burke wrote, “I have no words today. [heartbroken emoji] just Tommy Burke. 7/19/1977 – 7/20/2021.” She later posted another set of pictures captioned, “Recognize what exists today as tomorrow belongs to no one… Rest in love, baby brother.”
In an Instagram story, Burke posted a photo of her brother kissing one of her children and wrote over top, “To my friends and family, thank you for the loving support. I humbly need to ask that you please to NOT send me anything, with love and respect it’s not about me… PLEASE transfer any gesture to my brother’s family and the many children he leaves behind.”
Burke’s second-oldest daughter Sierra posted a tribute of her own on Instagram, writing, “To celebrate your life, talent, and the kindest heart I’ve ever know. Thank you for inspiring me to write music and for bringing love and hope to everyone around you. Time with you was a blessing. Love u uncle tommy. Till we meet again.”
And Burke’s oldest daughter Neriah said in an Instagram story (via the Daily Mail), “Keep your loved ones close. Tell people how much you appreciate them. My heart is feeling extra heavy. I miss your hugs. You always have the best ones.”
The family has not said much about the cause of death. A GoFundMe page set up for Tommy’s family says he died “unexpectedly” in his sleep. It also says he leaves behind 10 children.
“On Tuesday, July 20, 2021, Tommy Burke, aka Fatcat, passed away suddenly and unexpectedly while sleeping in his home,” the page reads. “Throughout his life, Tom brought positivity and laughter to everyone around him, especially his family and friends. He was an artist in every sense of the word: from his witty rap lyrics, to his impressive paintings, woodwork, and professional designs. He is already greatly missed. He leaves behind his wife and 10 kids. This fundraiser is intended to help support them during and after this difficult time.”
Burke’s Friends and Co-Stars Were Quick to Offer Words of Support
On her two Instagram posts, the “Dancing With the Stars” family offered words of support and love.
“Sweetie I am so so sorry,” wrote judge Carrie Ann Inaba. Two-time contestant Gilles Marini added, “I am so sorry for your loss, Brooke.”
TV producers and spouses Mark Burnett and Roma Downey also expressed their sympathy. “So sorry, Brooke. So very sorry,” wrote Burnett, and Downey added a prayer emoji.
Fellow TV presenters Carnie Wilson, Debbie Matenopoulos, Ali Landry, and Holly Robinson Peete also left sweet messages for Burke.
“Dancing With the Stars” season 30 premieres Monday, September 20 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.