‘DWTS’ Judge Carrie Ann Inaba’s Father Dies Days Before Season Premiere

by | March 20, 2013 at 9:13 AM | Dancing With The Stars

"Dancing with the Stars" Judge Carrie Ann Inaba (Photo: ABC)

She may have been all smiles on Monday’s season premiere of “Dancing with the Stars,” but “DWTS” judge Carrie Ann Inaba was going through a personal tragedy.

Inaba’s father died four days before the “DWTS” premiere. The reality TV judge revealed the sad news in her People.com blog the day after the show, although she declined to disclose the specifics surrounding his death.

“My father, Rodney Y. Inaba, passed away this past Thursday morning and it’s been a really challenging time,” Inaba wrote on People.com. “Losing a loved one is something that is so very hard to understand and cope with. I’m filled with a tremendous sadness but also a relief, for he is in a better place now.”

Putting on a brave face and dressed in black, the “Dancing” judge made the decision to go on with the show, despite her heartbreaking loss, saying, it was “really emotional for me…” [but] “in honor of my father, I chose to do the first show and not take the time off because in my heart, I know he would have wanted it that way.”

“I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to make it through the show with all the emotions that have been overflowing,” she continued. “But I felt my father’s spirit was with me last night, supporting me and cheering me on. And I dedicated the show to him, in gratitude for all that he taught me about life; for his bravery, his courage, his huge heart and his love for the underdog.”

Inaba ended the entry with this touching message:

“Dad, I know you’re up there dancing in joy (he used to do a little ballroom/social dancing when he was in the service). I love you.”

“Dancing with the Stars” airs Monday and Tuesday nights on ABC.

Watch Monday Night’s Season 16 Premiere of “Dancing with the Stars”: