08/09/2017 13:15 BST

'Strictly Come Dancing' Judge Shirley Ballas Reflects On Brother's Suicide

'He was my life and soul.'

‘Strictly Come Dancing’ newcomer Shirley Ballas has opened up about the emotional loss of her brother, who died by suicide 14 years ago.

In Saturday’s (9 September) launch show, Shirley will take her place on the panel for the first time as Head Judge, joining returning stars Bruno Tonioli, Craig Revel Horwood and Darcey Bussell.

Speaking about her late brother in an interview with The Sun, Shirley admitted he’s partly the reason she is now able to do what she loves.

Mike Marsland via Getty Images
Shirley Ballas
Karwai Tang via Getty Images
The new-look 'Strictly' judging panel

She previously claimed: “I will be quite strict. To really impress me, the celebrity will have to have elements of technique, creativity and also the magic with your partner – chemistry.

“I’m bringing 40 years of dance experience along with all my coaching and judging so you better pull your socks up and be ready.”

Shirley is set to appear in this year’s ‘Strictly’ launch on Saturday night (9 September), at 7pm on BBC One.

Useful websites and helplines:

  • Mind, open Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm on 0300 123 3393
  • Samaritans offers a listening service which is open 24 hours a day, on 116 123 (UK and ROI - this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill.)
  • Get Connected is a free advice service for people under 25. Call 0808 808 4994 or email: help@getconnected.org.uk
Photo gallery 'Strictly Come Dancing' 2017 Celebs See Gallery