Dancing with the Stars professional dancer Peta Murgatroyd is a fan-favorite and two-time winner of the popular series, but she recently had some news to share that was far sadder than usual. Choreographer Serge Onik, who worked with Murgatroyd and was clearly a very good friend, passed away, and she paid tribute to him with a response that was as touching as it was emotional.
Serge Onik worked with Peta Murgatroyd and other Dancing with the Stars pros during his time as a choreographer, and was also a contestant on Fox's So You Think You Can Dance Season 11 before landing a role in the In The Heights film. Although he wasn't quite a visible dancer when it comes to Dancing with the Stars compared to Murgatroyd due to his work as choreographer, she has made it clear just how much he meant to her. In a lengthy and emotional Instagram post, she wrote:
My Serge…..my Koala I can’t believe it, I am completely broken. 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 fucking hate how I forgot to do this. I will always hate myself for this. My heart fucking hurts, my eyes fucking 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. You were always such an amazing leader in dance and the king of rhythm. 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.
No details are available about the cause of death for Serge Onik, who was just 33-years-old at the time of his passing, but there's an extra layer of tragedy for Peta Murgatroyd as she revealed that she meant to reach out to him just last week. Even for those who may not be too familiar with Onik's work, Murgatroyd's words about him as a leader in dance and king of rhythm paint a picture of him as a professional that is certainly positive. She continued:
YOU WERE SOOOO LOVED…SOOOO LOVED, much more than you knew. 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. To thank you for everything you’ve done to make my life joyful will take pages and pages. There are so many memories I will cry over until I see you again. But 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. 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. Your selflessness was unmatched. I will always remember you as my Koala to my Bamboo. I’ll always be your Bamboo, forever.
Peta Murgatroyd gave birth to her son Shai, who she shares with husband and fellow Dancing with the Stars professional Maksim Chmerkovskiy, in 2017, and then was tasked with getting back into dancing shape to take her place back on the DWTS stage. And apparently, Serge Onik was instrumental in getting her to start dancing again when she wasn't feeling especially good about herself. Her words come across as both a public tribute to her friend as well as a deeply personal message. She closed her post with a message to him:
I know you’ll be doing your spicy salsa moves in heaven right now, looking over us all. When I see you again I will pin you down and wrestle with you in the clouds and MAYBE we can break Maks’ bed again lol…that was a fun memory. We were curled over with laughter and we were trying to think how we tell Maks his bed was now in pieces on the floor. Do we lie or tell the truth ?? Haha.. Until we meet again my loving Koala I fucking love you
Her long and touching message was accompanied by a series of photos that really illustrates the closeness of their relationship before he passed away, revealing just how much fun Peta Murgatroyd and Serge Onik had together. Take a look at the images for yourself:
Peta Murgatroyd isn't the only Dancing with the Stars pro who shared a message in honor of Serge Onik. Val Chmerkovskiy, who is also Murgatroyd's brother-in-law, was Onik's roommate for a time, and posted his own tribute to their "unconditional" friendship and crediting him for only seeing "the best in people." Jenna Johnson, who worked with Onik on both Dancing with the Stars and back in his So You Think You Can Dance days, had a long message of her own for Onik on Instagram, crediting him for introducing her to her husband... none other than Val Chmerkovskiy.
Our thoughts here at CinemaBlend are with the friends, family, and loved ones of Serge Onik in this difficult time. The Dancing with the Stars community of professional dancers clearly had some strong ties to Orik, and their messages reflect extremely well on the kind of friend he was.