Alexandra Burke Announces Mother's Death, Just Hours After 'Strictly Come Dancing' Launch

'I know that she would have wanted me to carry on.'

Alexandra Burke has announced the death of her mother, Melissa Bell, less than 24 hours after officially beginning her ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ journey.

On Tuesday (29 August), the former ‘X Factor’ winner posted an emotional statement on Twitter, revealing her mum had died the previous day.

<strong>Alexandra Burke has announced the death of her mother</strong>
Alexandra Burke has announced the death of her mother
PA Wire/PA Images

Paying tribute to her “beautiful” mum - who was a lead singer of R&B act Soul II Soul, before fronting group Soul Explosion - Alexandra wrote: “It is with the heaviest and saddest of hearts that the family inform you our beautiful, funny and loving mum, Melissa Bell, has passed away.

“Our beautiful mother gained her wings on Monday 28th August 2017, a day that changed out lives forever.

“We will never forget her unconditional love, support, charisma, strength and courage throughout her life.

“We are eternally proud and thankful to call her our mummy.

“We would be grateful if you could respect our privacy at this difficult time,” she added.

On Monday evening, Alexandra joined her fellow ‘Strictly’ contestants at a glitzy red carpet event, as filming on the new series got underway.

<strong>Alexandra with her mum Melissa in 2012</strong>
Alexandra with her mum Melissa in 2012
Dave M. Benett via Getty Images

While it is unclear if she had learned of her mother’s death at the time of her appearance, Alexandra has confirmed she will be staying with the BBC ballroom show, as it had always been a “dream” of her mum’s for her to take part.

She wrote: “Mummy has always been my biggest supporter and was over the moon when I told her I was doing ‘Strictly’.

“It was always a dream of hers that I would one day be part of the show and I know that she would have wanted me to carry on.”

<strong>Alexandra with Jonnie Peacock at the 'Strictly' launch</strong>
Alexandra with Jonnie Peacock at the 'Strictly' launch
PA Wire/PA Images

Alexandra is one of 15 celebrities taking part in the new series of ‘Strictly’, which has reunited her with her former ‘X Factor’ competitor Aston Merrygold.

The pair faced off in the final of the ITV competition in 2008, with Alexandra just pipping Aston and his JLS bandmates to take the crown.

However, Aston is top of the bookies’ early picks to win ‘Strictly’, just slightly ahead of Alexandra, who has forged a successful career in musical theatre in recent years.

‘Strictly Come Dancing’ returns to BBC One on Saturday 9 September.

'Strictly Come Dancing' Launch 2017