Ellen DeGeneres took to Twitter on Thursday to encourage people to share their favorite moments of Stephen “tWitch” Boss following his death.
“Right now what I want to do is remember all the love and laughter I had with tWitch. He brought so much joy to my life. I know he brought joy to yours too. I’m going to be sharing some of my favorite moments with him. If you want to you can also share yours. #ILovetWitch,” the comedian wrote in a tweet with a video montage of herself and Boss.
For nine years, Boss worked as a DJ and eventually an executive producer on The Ellen DeGeneres Show before the show signed off earlier this year. During that time, he would help get the audience on their feet, dance with DeGeneres and take part in activities and games.
On Friday, the former TV host also shared a clip from the show of a sweet exchange between herself and the So You Think You Can Dance fan-favorite, where he was teaching her a dance move.
Boss, who was a dancer, choreographer, actor and producer, died by suicide at 40 on Tuesday, according to a rep. His wife, Allison Holker Boss, also confirmed his death in a statement, saying in part, “It is with the heaviest of hearts that I have to share my husband Stephen has left us. 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.”
Celebrities and friends, including Justin Timberlake, Leah Remini, Carrie Ann Inaba, Kerry Washington and Paula Abdul, posted tributes on social media, remembering the dancer, and some shared mental health resources.
“Heartbreaking to hear that someone who brought so much joy to a room, was hurting so much behind closed doors,” Timberlake wrote. “Take care of yourselves. LOVE that human in the mirror. Check on your people.”
Following Boss’ death, Tyler Perry shared a video on Instagram, aiming to help others by opening up about past attempts to take his own life.
“I like the rest of the world am shocked by the death of Stephen Boss, tWitch,” the actor said in the post, with the caption “Life…” “I’ve only met him a couple times and he was always full of life and seemed like such a light, but with that said, I just want to take you back to a time in my life where I tried to commit suicide, a couple of times, because it was so dark, I didn’t think it would get any better. I had endured so much pain, so much abuse, sexual abuse. It was all so hard to just move through that I thought the only way to make this better, this pain go away is to end my life.”
He went on to say, “Had any of the attempts happened, I would have missed the best part of my life.”
Perry also shared what he had learned when he was at a low point and urged people struggling with mental health to contact someone for help or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
“I know you may be going through some things, and I know you may seem like there is no hope, but please reach out to someone … call, ask for help if you are dealing with anything, anything that is emotionally taking you to a place that you want to end your life,” Perry said. “Don’t let the darkness stop you from getting to this incredible place of light.”
On Friday, Derek Hough also posted an emotional video on Instagram talking about mental health and suicide.
The dancer revealed that someone he knew recently died by suicide, and so Hough was going to make this video weeks ago but decided to finally make it after learning about Boss’ death.
“I found out a man I knew died by suicide on Thanksgiving morning, and it was a complete shock because he was the most positive, just optimistic, beautiful man you could ever imagine, and it was jolting to say the least. But it was a harsh reminder of this time of year and of depression, of seasonal depression, and just circumstances and the time of year when people feel like it’s too much,” the Dancing With the Stars judge said in the video with a caption featuring the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline number. “Now I’m learning about our friend Stephen and the fact that he went the exact same way as this man within a few weeks. It’s just heartbreaking, confusing, shocking. There’s so many different feelings and I’m trying to figure it out.”
Hough went on to say, “I just want to express and just to say for anybody out there who is feeling these thoughts and these feelings, please, please I beg you, I beg you, give people an opportunity to be there for you. I know it feels like when you’re in that dark hole that it will just not get better, and I’m telling you right now, I promise you it does. It does get better.”