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Strictly's Brendan Cole heartbroken and in tears as he pays tribute to his home city

The star was born in Christchurch

Andrea Caamano

New Zealand native Brendan Cole has paid a touching tribute to his "home city" after the tragic events that happened on Friday, in which a gunman attacked two mosques and killed 49 people, whilst another 20 were injured.

The former Strictly Come Dancing professional dancer, who was born in Christchurch, shared a very emotional post, which read: "With tears in my eyes I struggle to put into words the heartbreak I am feeling and the sadness for the people of my home city. Stay strong, stand together and united people. The world is sending you love and strength through our tears. #Christchurch."

Fellow Strictly stars reacted to his heartfelt message, with Ore Oduba writing: "Awful mate. Sending big love." Another follower said: "So sad Brendan. Our thoughts with you and your fellow countrymen x."

MORE: Strictly's Brendan Cole and wife Zoe celebrate baby Dante's first birthday with adorable photo

Others stars such as Phillip Schofield tweeted their support to the people of New Zealand: "Sending all my love and thoughts to everyone affected by the appalling atrocity in #NewZealand A country very dear to my heart xxx."

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Members of the royal family have also expressed their sadness after hearing the horrific news, with the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh releasing a statement. "I have been deeply saddened by the appalling events in Christchurch today. Prince Philip and I send our condolences to the families and friends of those who have lost their lives."

Her Majesty continued: "I also pay tribute to the emergency services and volunteers who are providing support to those who have been injured. At this tragic time, my thoughts and prayers are with all New Zealanders. Elizabeth R."

Her son Prince Charles also sent his condolences, writing in a statement: "Both my wife and I were utterly horrified to hear of the most barbaric attacks on two mosques in Christchurch, which resulted in the cruel and tragic loss of so many people's lives. It is beyond all belief that so many should have been killed and injured at their place of worship and our most special and heartfelt sympathy goes out to all the families and loved ones of those who have lost their lives.

"This appalling atrocity is an assault on all of us who cherish religious freedom, tolerance, compassion and community. I know that the people of New Zealand will never allow hate and division to triumph over these things they hold dear. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims' families, the first responders, the people of Christchurch and all New Zealanders at this most heartbreaking of times.