Peta Murgatroyd, Val Chmerkovskiy and More Dancers Pay Tribute to Late Choreographer Serge Onik
Many friends and former colleagues of Serge Onik are sharing emotional tributes following his death, which was announced on Tuesday. He was 33.
Dancing With the Stars pro Peta Murgatroyd took to Instagram Wednesday night to share a slideshow of snapshots taken throughout their friendship, and penned an emotional tribute to the late choreographer.
"My Serge…..my Koala I can’t believe it, I am completely broken," she wrote. "I’m filled with regret because I was going to text you and tell you that I missed you last week and it slipped my mind. I f**king hate how I forgot to do this. I will always hate myself for this."
"My heart f**king hurts, my eyes f**king hurt and my soul is aching to squeeze you one last time. I just need one last squeeze and one last play fight like we used to. I just need one last giggle about something smutty and one last eye roll and maybe one last dance in the club," she continued. "
"While I couldn’t write anything these past few days, the pain was too bad, I read all the beautiful messages from hundreds of people around the world. YOU WERE SOOOO LOVED…SOOOO LOVED, much more than you knew," Murgatroyd wrote alongside the post. "You were so kind, so jolly and were the life of the party. Your face was always kind, that Koala face. You were so joyful and always helped others without needing anything in return. I will always miss that joy, that smile and that witty sense of humor with your quick comebacks."
She also shared her gratitude for Onik helping her get back on the dance floor after giving birth to her first child with husband Maksim Chmerkovskiy.
"I will never forget your graciousness of helping me after giving birth to Shai. You made me dance, made me move and made me get up and believe I could do it again," she shared. "I was HUGE and you told me I looked amazing haha and to not be so hard on myself. For that, I can never write/say anything that would amount to the level of gratitude I have for you."
She also shared a video from when she and Onik were working on planning out the choreography for a season of Dancing With the Stars, when she was partnered with Nick Viall.
"We couldn’t find a regular pen to count out the music. So we used this kids butterfly pen which we cackled laughing at because we wouldn’t be able to take ourselves seriously writing on the pad ❤️" she recalled in the caption to a clip of Onik frantically scribbling on a pad of paper with a yellow sparkly pen covered in glittery streamers.
Murgatroyd's brother-in-law and fellow DWTS pro Val Chmerkovskiy shared a tribute on Wednesday as well, alongside a photo of himself and Onik sitting on the bumper on the back of a moving van.
"Can’t believe I’m actually writing this. I love you Serge. You had this ease about you, this kindness, this love and excitement for life and the people around you. You made every moment you were a part of better," he wrote. "No words will truly describe the quality of human you were to me how much you loved me and how many times you were there for me in every and any capacity. I love you! I already miss you. I already feel just that much emptier."
"We grew up together. We moved and lived together. And as life separated us a few degrees recently every time we’d connect catch up it felt like we never missed a beat. Our friendship was unconditional. No hidden agendas, never. You said what you meant and never wasted a moment to lift someone’s spirits. Never cared for who was who or what you can gain from what, you only saw the best in people and tried your best to bring joy to all of them," he continued. "You were a real friend. The type that would put others ahead of yourself. I wish I told you more often how dear you were to me, how much I loved you."
Val's wife and fellow professional dancer Jenna Johnson, who worked with Onik on both DWTS and So You Think You Can Dance, shared a slideshow that honored Onik's beloved memory.
"We first met during Vegas week for SYTYCD. We got partnered together and I immediately fell in love with your spirit and love of dance," she wrote, later recalling how it was Onik who first introduced Johnson to her now-husband.
"You were selfless, full of laughter, talented beyond belief, and everybody’s favorite wingman. We shared an Aries spirit and have birthday’s one day apart. Never did you miss being one of the first ones to text me on my birthday. Val and I happened to get married on your birthday 4/13… you flew out for our wedding with no hesitation and celebrated the whole day with us. You better believe that our anniversary will have even more meaning now," she added.
Onik's rep confirmed his death to ET in a statement on Tuesday, sharing, "He was an amazing dancer with a huge heart and he touched the lives of everyone who met him. He will be truly missed. This is a sad day for us at the agency and for the dance community as a whole. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his friends and family at this time."
Onik most recently appeared as a dancer in the Jon M. Chu-directed film In the Heights, which was released in June. He also taught classes at the Broadway Dance Center in New York City.
No cause of death has been released to the public.
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