Carrie Ann Inaba’s father passed away just days before the Dancing with the Stars premiere on Monday, the Dancing with the Stars mentor and judge has revealed.
Inaba, who featured in Monday’s edition of the show, opened up about her father’s death on March 14 in a blog for People. She wrote:
“My father, Rodney Y Inaba, passed away this past Thursday morning and it’s been a really challenging time. Losing a loved one is something that is so very hard to understand and cope with. I’m filled with a tremendous sadness but also a relief, for he is in a better place now.”
The 45-year-old celebrity judge continued:
“I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to make it through the show with all the emotions that have been overflowing. But I felt my father’s spirit was with me… supporting me and cheering me on. And I dedicated the show to him, in gratitude for all that he taught me about life – for his bravery, his courage, his huge heart and his love for the underdog.”
Inaba added that her dad was a “special man”, describing him as somebody who was “never afraid to speak his mind” and “a pioneer, an entrepreneur, an animal lover.”
She also revealed she went ahead with the first show because that’s what her father would have wanted. Giving thanks to her team and the show’s other judges, she wrote, “In honor of my father, I chose to do the first show and not take the time off, because in my heart, I know he would have wanted it that way.”
Thankfully, Monday’s show went without a hitch – not something you could say about every one of Inaba’s DWTS appearances. Rounding off her post with one final tribute, the star said, “Dad, I know you’re up there dancing in joy (he used to do a little ballroom/social dancing when he was in the service). I love you.”
Thumbs-up for showing admirable courage, Carrie!
[Images via Shutterstock]