Stephen “tWitch” Boss, the dancer and television personality who spent years as Ellen DeGeneres’ DJ/sidekick on her daytime talk show, has died. He was 40.
Boss’ wife, Allison Holker Boss, issued a statement to People, saying, “It is with the heaviest of hearts that I have to share my husband Stephen has left us. 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.”
She continued: “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. We ask for privacy during this difficult time for myself and especially for our three children… Stephen, we love you, we miss you, and I will always save the last dance for you.”
On Thursday, DeGeneres shared a heartfelt video tribute of the memories they made together on the talk show. “Right now what I want to do is remember all the love and laughter I had with tWitch,” DeGeneres wrote in the caption. “He brought so much joy to my life. I know he brought joy to yours too.”
Boss was a dancer by trade and scored some early success in the 2000s with appearances on MTV’s The Wade Robson Project and the long-running talent competition, Star Search. His big break came in 2008 when he finished as runner-up on Season Four of So You Think You Can Dance. He soon started scoring more film and TV roles — like a recurring place in the Step Up franchise — and also remained a fixture on So You Think You Can Dance, returning as an all-star on subsequent seasons.
In 2010, during one of those all-star stints, Boss crossed paths with DeGeneres, linking up with the comedian to do a choreographed routine to Lil Jon’s “Outta Your Mind.” Four years later, Boss popped up on The Ellen DeGeneres Show as a guest DJ. He remained a fixture there, becoming an executive producer in 2020, and sticking with DeGeneres until the program ended in 2022.
Additionally, Boss worked with DeGeneres on her game show, Ellen’s Game of Games, picked up roles in movies like Magic Mike XXL, and made cameos on TV shows like Modern Family.
Boss also co-founded CLI Studios, which offers online dance classes with top choreographers. “With a heavy heart, we acknowledge the immense loss that the dance world has experienced with the passing of Stephen ‘tWitch’ Boss. To many, tWitch was a larger than life personality that transcended dance,” the studio said in a statement. “To us, he was a dear friend, colleague, and fervent supporter of the transformative power of the performing arts. As a Co-Founder of CLI Studios, Stephen was committed to educating and inspiring the next generation of young dancers and we’ll be forever grateful for his contributions to this mission.”
With his wife, Allison, he co-hosted the Disney TV series, Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings, and earlier this year he returned to So You Think You Can Dance as a judge.
This article was updated on Dec. 15 with Boss’ official cause of death.
Dial 988 in the US to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The Trevor Project, which provides help and suicide-prevention resources for LGBTQ youth, is 1-866-488-7386. Find other international suicide helplines at Befrienders Worldwide (befrienders.org).