Jennifer Lopez, Cheryl Burke and More Honor Stephen 'tWitch' Boss: 'The World Lost a Bright Light'

"It’s heartbreaking to hear that someone who brought so much joy to a room, was hurting so much behind closed doors," wrote Justin Timberlake after Stephen "tWitch" Boss' death at age 40

Stars from all corners of Hollywood are speaking out after the sudden death of Stephen "tWitch" Boss. He died by suicide at age 40.

Allison Holker Boss, the wife of the former Ellen DeGeneres Show DJ, shared an emotional statement with PEOPLE on Wednesday, confirming the news.

"It is with the heaviest of hearts that I have to share my husband Stephen has left us," Allison, 34, said, in part, of her husband. "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. To say he left a legacy would be an understatement, and his positive impact will continue to be felt. I am certain there won't be a day that goes by that we won't honor his memory."

Following the news, celebrities across Hollywood expressed their sadness over the death of the So You Think You Can Dance judge.

Stephen tWitch Boss
Stephen "tWitch" Boss. Getty

SYTYCD creator and judge Nigel Lythgoe told PEOPLE in a statement that he was"heartbroken and devastated" and "at a loss to understand how someone as loved and as inspirational to so many people as Stephen was can feel they are in such a dark place that they have no other choice but to end their life."

"With Twitch, that is unimaginable to me," he continued, in part. "He always had that broad smile and a joy of life. Everyone who met him loved him .... The dance community will be reeling today but my deepest sympathy goes out to his wife, Allison and their children. It's important to recognize that mental health is a real problem and sometimes goes unnoticed in our loved ones. As we go into this happy time of the year for so many of us we must recognize that stress and dark emotions appear to be heightened in others."

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Fellow SYTYCD alum Tiffany Maher added in a separate statement to PEOPLE: "My heart is broken. Stephen 'Twitch' was a bright light. He had such a kind and inspirational soul. I feel so fortunate to have known him. He will forever be remembered and deeply missed. Sending love and prayers to Allison and their children."

In a statement of their own, Fox Entertainment, 19 Entertainment and Dick Clark Productions — which produces SYTYCD — told PEOPLE: "We will always remember Stephen 'tWitch' Boss for the light and joy he brought into our lives and into the hearts of so many. This tragic, painful loss of such a radiant, inimitable talent and beloved friend is immeasurable beyond words, and we grieve alongside his family, loved ones and fans. 'tWitch,' we will miss you dearly."

Boss' mentor, Dr. Tommie Tonea Stewart, also provided PEOPLE with a statement about his death. "Today we lost a beautiful soul, a kind heart, and a talent who was loved by his many fans and admirers. Stephen lit up a room with a smile that was infectious and heartfelt by anyone he came in contact with. Although we grieve the loss of Stephen, his warmth and spirit will forever live in our hearts and in his contributions to the Arts."

Producer Nigel Lythgoe and Stephen ÒtWitchÓ Boss attend the Screen Actors Guild Foundation, SAG-AFTRA and Career Transitions for Dancers presents "Dancers Forum" with Nigel Lythgoe, Cat Deeley, Adam Shankman, Kym Johnson, tWitch and more at SAG Foundation Actors Center on July 25, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.
Nigel Lythgoe and Stephen 'tWitch' Boss. Angela Weiss/Getty

Tributes poured out across social media as well. Ellen DeGeneres reacted to the devastating news by penning a heartfelt message alongside a photo of the pair hugging.

"I'm heartbroken. tWitch was pure love and light," she wrote on Instagram. "He was my family, and I loved him with all my heart. I will miss him. Please send your love and support to Allison and his beautiful children - Weslie, Maddox, and Zaia."

Former First Lady Michelle Obama, who was a frequent guest on the Ellen show, shared a photo of Boss's family on Instagram, writing beside the image, "I was heartbroken to learn about the passing of Stephen 'tWitch' Boss, who I got to know over the years through my Let's Move! initiative and visits to The Ellen Show."

"Stephen was an incredible force—someone who radiated kindness and positivity, and made sure that people around him could feel it, too. We felt his spirit in every dance, every DJ set, every piece of creativity that he brought to life. My heart goes out to his wife, Allison, and their three children, Weslie, Maddox, and Zaia," she continued. "And if any of you out there are struggling and need someone to talk to, please know that you are never alone. There is always someone ready to help. You can call or text the suicide and crisis hotline by dialing 988."

Jennifer Lopez, who worked with Boss on World of Dance, shared several photos with him on Instagram. "Twitch was such a light and a beautiful soul…💔 Shocked and deeply saddened. My heart breaks for @sir_twitch_alot, his wife and children 🙏 Sending you love and strength 🤍" she wrote.

Justin Timberlake, a friend of Boss's for over 20 years, said in a tweet: "It's heartbreaking to hear that someone who brought so much joy to a room, was hurting so much behind closed doors. I've known Twitch for over 20 years through the dance community - he always lit everything up. You just never know what someone is really going through."

He added, "Take care of yourselves. LOVE that human in the mirror. Check on your people. Sending light to his beautiful family in this dark, confusing time. You will be missed, Sir. Rest Easy."

JoJo Siwa, who served as a judge on SYTYCD beside Boss, wrote a touching tribute on Instagram, where she sweetly called Boss "forever the world's dance dad."

"My heart is beyond broken.💔😭 twitch was a best friend and a mentor not just to me but to SO many. I'll never forget our time getting to work together on SYTYCD, he became such a light in my life. Someone I've looked up to since I was born turned one of my best friends," Siwa wrote. "Twitch always had the best advice. We had SO many laughs, smiles, and even cries together. I know you're in a better place now but man we are all gonna miss the hell outta you. Sending my most love and prayers to His beautiful wife and 3 perfect kids. ❤️ thank you for sharing your gift with the world. I'm 'so esssicted' to see you again one day (A inside joke between us that I will never let go of). Forever the worlds dance dad. Love you brother.🙏🏼 RIP the legendary Stephen Twitch Boss❤️"

Dancing with the Stars pro Cheryl Burke also reacted on Instagram, sharing two photos with Boss. In her post, she remembered him "for being so joyful, inspirational, and for always putting a smile on my face."

"My heart breaks for @sir_twitch_alot, @allisonholker and their beautiful family. Twitch, thank you for representing the dance world with such positivity and grace but more importantly, as a human being," she wrote. "thank you for being so joyful, inspirational, and for always putting a smile on my face. May your soul rest in peace my friend. 💔"

Channing Tatum shared an Instagram photo with Boss and wrote beside it, "I have no words. There aren't any. My head or heart can not understand this. There is just so much… i don't know where to begin. I love you. I'll see you again my friend. Until then."

Katie Couric wrote how "this is so, so sad." She continued on Instagram, "Stephen 'tWitch' Boss, the beloved DJ and producer on the Ellen DeGeneres Show and dancer who rose to fame on So You Think You Can Dance, has died from suicide. He was 40 years old."

Nikki Bella shared a touching tribute on Instagram, in which she wrote, "RIP Twitch 💔 Allison sending you so much light, love, and strength. You and the whole family. As you can see from social media and the news today Twitch was an inspiration to so many and truly filled with so much love and light. He made people better by who he organically was. Truly led wether [sic] that was as a coach or who he was as a person. My heart is broken. For him, Allison and the kids. Check in on your loved ones. We will never forget you Twitch. RIP. 🤍🙏🏼✨"

Jada Pinkett Smith penned an extensive statement in response to the news. "I woke up this morning to the news that tWitch is gone. My heart aches for his wife Allison and their children Weslie, Maddox and Zaia," she wrote alongside a photo of the pair with Donald Glover.

"My condolences to all his loved ones that he has left behind. We had a lot of good times on the set of Magic Mike," she continued. "He was so sweet, kind and generous. So many people suffer in silence. I wish he could have known that he didn't have to. May his beautiful, shining soul rest in the arms of the Great Supreme and may that same Higher Power heal the shattered hearts of his loved ones.🕊️."

"What is going on?! This news has broken my heart. I've loved him since #SYTYCD. He was always so joyful & full of life. Always," Yvette Nicole Brown wrote via Twitter. "Oh, tWitch!💔."

Brown added: "If you are feeling despair PLEASE call 988. #PleaseStay."

Former Ellen DeGeneres Show producer Andy Lassner shared a photo of the pair filming an episode with Ellen DeGeneres. "Rest, my friend," he captioned the post.

Beneath Lassner's post, actress Beth Behrs commented with three red broken heart emojis. She also wrote on her Instagram Story: "Rest in peace my friend. What a joy it was to know you and laugh with you."

Sophia Grace Brownlee and cousin Rosie McClelland, who appeared together on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, also paid tribute to the late star.

"My condolences to your family and loved ones," Brownlee shared alongside a collage of the pair with Boss on her Instagram Story Wednesday. "Thank you for always making the show so fun for me and rosie, you will never be forgotten rest easy."

"tWitch, you will always be part of our Ellen Family, thank you for making everything so fun for us," McClelland added along of a video montage of the cousins with Boss. "Me and Sophia were so lucky to have worked with you, sending all the love to your family, children and friends, love Rosie and Family 💔"

SYTYCD alum and Dancing with the Stars pro Jenna Johnson Chmerkovskiy shared a video of Boss dancing on Instagram and wrote beside it, "may you forever be dancing in heaven and wearing that smile that lit up the world💔"

Jenna Johnson Stephen "Twitch" Boss
Jenna Johnson's Instagram Story. Jenna Johnson/Instagram

Jenna's husband and DWTS pro, Val Chmerkovskiy penned a touching tribute on Instagram beside a video of Boss smiling.

"To a man that had touched so many with his beautiful spirit and infectious smile. Rest in peace my friend, I hope you finally found it," he wrote. "You were an example for me and so many of us trying to make our little fifteen minutes into a two hour special in this strange and at times brutal world of entertainment. You were the example not solely because of the success you had but the grace with which you carried it. You did it without stepping over anyone without switching up or selling out. You were kind, always thoughtful, and always kept it one hundred thousand. That's why as a community we loved you!"

"You were exactly the representation we wanted and we're proud to have. Always checking in when you saw I, or my family, was going through stuff always offered help, and sometimes gave it without even asking," he continued. "You will be dearly missed, you will be ferociously celebrated for years to come, and I just hope you knew how much you were loved before you went. The ones that smile the brightest may be the ones that hurt the most. I can't believe I'm writing this. #RIPStephenBoss #RIPtWitch"

Val's brother and DWTS alum Maksim Chmerkovskiy also shared a tribute on Instagram. "I'm at a loss for words… I wrote few paragraphs and deleted everything because it's all so irrelevant right now. I have so much to say, but I just want to hold on to the memories I have and not try to wrap my head around this."

"Stephen 'Twitch' Boss was the only man I've met in the entire industry who was loved by absolutely everyone. This makes no sense at all…. Rest easy my friend.💔" he added.

Actor Boris Kodjoe wrote in his Instagram post: "I just saw you last week. Your wife by your side. Big smile, big hug."

"What we don't see is what we don't understand. Everybody has pain. Trauma and depression are very real, yet too often stigmatized, ignored or trivialized," Kodjoe continued. "Don't assume, don't judge, just check in and be there.Just love. Dance in peace, my friend. 🙏🏾❤️"

"Damn this is sad news. Sending prayers to Stephen "tWitch" Boss's family and friends. ❤️🙏 RIP TWITCH," wrote Paul "DJ Pauly D" DelVecchio as Alyssa Milano tweeted out a video of him dancing while commenting, "RIP TWITCH. Damn."

Sharing a video of the pair being goofy together, Emmanuel Acho wrote: "You'll be missed by brother. You'll be missed."

"Thanks for always laughing and smiling with me," he continued. "Stephen 'tWitch' gone way too soon 💔💔💔. RIP tWitch."

In a separate post, Acho added: "I've never known a man to radiate joy the way tWitch did. Every time we connected the only thing that could exceed the laughter were the smiles. tWitch, your last text message to me a few months ago said, "sending love and light always." You better believe I'm holding you to that. My friend, my brother, my role model, you'll be missed. #RIPtWitch. 💔"

Jodie Sweetin revealed that she was still "in a lot of shock" after hearing the news. She told Entertainment Tonight that Boss was "such a talent and such an amazing, warm, wonderful heart" who will be "greatly missed."

As Erin Napier reacted to the news, the star of HGTV's Home Town recalled her positive experience working alongside Boss and his wife.

"I spent an afternoon with him filming Ben's Workshop and I was so impressed with he and Allison's easy kindness and playfulness with the precious kids we filmed with that day at @thesocialclublaurel," Napier, 37, recalled in an Instagram Story post. "He radiated joy and genuine caring."

She added: "This is so shocking. God bless their family. We are just so deeply sorry, @allisonholker."

ABC News correspondent Gio Benitez shared Allison's quote and wrote: "RIP Twitch. Thinking of @Allisonholker, their kids, and all who loved him. Please, please, please get the help you need by calling or texting 988."

"Sometimes the happiest looking people from the outside are struggling on the inside. RIP Twitch #RIPTwitch," Tommy Chong tweeted.

Sharing PEOPLE's post on Boss' passing, Viola Davis said on Instagram: "I'm at a loss for words right now, praying for his family and loved ones. 💔🕊🙏🏿."

Real Housewives of New Jersey star Melissa Gorga noted how "devastating" news was beneath PEOPLE's post. Jersey Shore's Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino commented with a prayer hand emoji while Very Cavallari alum Brittainy Taylor replied with a crying face emoji.

"The world lost a bright light today," Kerry Washington tweeted. "Twitch brought joy and love to people all over the world through music and through dance. My heart is heavy today for his family and all of those who knew and loved him."

Washington continued in a second tweet, "You never know what people are struggling with or going through. Hug your loved ones. Call your friends. Reach out to people in need. And if you or someone you know is in a crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK. ❤️."

As Loni Love tweeted videos of the two dancing together at his 40th birthday party, she noted what "a kind soul and a sweet person" Boss was.

"My heart goes out to his family especially Allison and their beautiful kids," she continued. "This is devastating ... I love you brother and will miss you dearly."

"Heartbroken to hear the news of tWitch's passing," Backstreet Boys crooner Howie Dorough wrote, sharing a video of the pair dancing.

"I had the pleasure of getting to know him recently and he always welcomed the boys and me with open arms when we saw him on Ellen," he continued. "He is truly one of a kind. Sending all my love to his family 🕊️"

Sharing an extensive statement of her own, Destiny's Child singer Michelle Williams began: "I don't like news like this! Who does? My heart goes out to his wife, children and family!"

"There are moments in your life where it can feel really heavy, uncertain, or scary. Times when you feel NO ONE understands, times when you feel like you may be a burden if you share what you're really dealing with," she continued. "I learned that it's not true……I promise you…. I know!! Twitch, you brought so much joy to the world with your art, as a husband, father, son and friend!! You will be missed!!"

Ciara uploaded a video of the pair dancing together on The Ellen DeGeneres Show set, writing: "I am so crushed to hear the news that you are no longer with us."

"I've always known you as joy, laughter, good times, and a big smile! Heaven has gained an angel today," she wrote. "May you rest in paradise. Praying for your family during this difficult time ❤️🙏🏽"

"Remembering a life well lived. Please keep the family of Stephen 'tWitch' Boss in your prayers," Billy Porter wrote on Instagram. "And please check on your friends. Even the 'strong' ones, the 'happy' ones. We never know what folks are going thru. 🙏🏾🕯."

In a post of her own, Octavia Spencer wrote: "I am incredibly saddened to hear about Stephen Boss', aka DJ tWitch, passing."

"tWitch brought happiness and light to so many people and he will be dearly missed," she added. "My heart goes out to his wife, children, friends, family and fans 💔🕊️"

Posting a video of them dancing together, Snoop Dogg wrote: "R. I. P. Twitch. Save a dance for me 😢🌹🙏🏾"

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Boss was best known for being a DJ and co-executive producer on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. But he also made a name for himself on So You Think You Can Dance as a contestant and later a judge when the series returned in 2022.

Boss is survived by his wife Allison as well as children Zaia, 3, Maddox, 6, and Weslie, 14.

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by dialing 988, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741741 or go to

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