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Derek Hough mourns beloved family member with heartbreaking tribute

Derek's sister Julianne Hough also shared a tribute on Friday


derek hough mourns beloved family member heartbreaking tribute© Photo: Getty Images
Hannah Watkin
Content Writer
March 12, 2023
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Derek Hough has joined his family in mourning the loss of a beloved family member – his grandfather.

Joined by his sisters Julianne, Katherine, Sharee and Marabeth, as well as their mother Marriann Hough, the former Dancing with the Stars professional now and judge attended an extended family gathering to give thanks for the life of Don Oliver Heaton.

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Derek's Instagram story

Writing on Instagram after the event, the 37-year-old said: "Spending time with family celebrating Grandpa Heaton’s long life…

"It’s wild to think how we only get to know our grandparents after they have already lived so many different lives," he continued. "We only really get to witness the fall/winter of their journey on this earth."

MORE: Derek Hough and his fiancée Hayley Erbert share distressing details of 'scary' car accident

Derek explained that during the memorial event, the family had gathered to read letters his grandfather had written to his grandmother in 1949. The Salt Lake City-born dancer described how the "beautifully handwritten letters," which he also posted photos of on his Instagram account, gave the family an emotional "peak inside [Grandpa's] soft and poetic heart."

Derek and Julianne photographed together on a red carpet© Photo: Getty Images

Derek and Julianne share their grandfather's passion for ballroom dancing

The six-times Dancing with the Stars winner then went on to say: "Getting to physically see and read a piece of history that helps complete his story and this grandchild’s perception is incredibly special."

He finished his tribute with the love-filled message: "Rest in peace Grandpa."

READ: Julianne Hough's incredible couture gown might be her most impressive yet

Derek's younger sister, Julianne, 34, commented a love heart emoji on his tribute, and also wrote a tribute of her own on her Instagram account. "There is so much to say about the life that my grandfather created for future generations," she began.

"Nobody worked harder than him with the constant driving force of being able to take care of his family," the actress as well as dancer continued, before adding: "Thank you for instilling your work ethic, passing on your ballroom dancing genes and of course your family values in to your children, grandchildren and all the children to come."

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