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Strictly star Robin Windsor 'tragically' passes away aged 44: Kristina Rihanoff, Susanna Reid and Karen Hauer pay tribute

The dancer performed on the BBC show from 2010 to 2014

Robin Windsor attends the press night after party for "Rip It Up" at Cafe de Paris
Nicky Morris
TV and film writer
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Former Strictly Come Dancing professional Robin Windsor has died at the age of 44. The news was announced in the early hours of Tuesday morning by Burn the Floor, a dance company of which Robin was one of the founders. 

"The Burn the Floor family has lost one of its founding members, Robin 'Bobby' Windsor - who has tragically passed away," the statement began. "A BTF journeyman he danced with us for twenty years - including Broadway, The West End and all our crazy adventures around the world. His stunning image attached with Jessica Raffa defined our company, colourful, extreme and sensual. His talent, attitude, energy and personality helped create the Burn the Floor stage reputation. He leaves a void in our hearts that will never be filled, yet our wonderful memories will stay forever."

Robin's death was first announced by Burn the Dancefloor© Instagram
Robin's death was first announced by Burn the Dancefloor

Robin, who was born in Ipswich, Suffolk, began dancing aged three and at 15 years old moved to London to pursue his dream of becoming a dancer. 

He first joined Strictly back in 2010 during its eighth series and was paired with actress Patsy Kensit. 

Robin, who had a professional partnership with fellow Kristina Rihanoff both on and off the Strictly ballroom floor, performed with the likes of Anita Dobson, Lisa Riley and Deborah Meaden during his time on the BBC programme. 

During an exclusive interview with HELLO! back in 2018, Robin opened up about missing Strictly.  "I do miss my time on Strictly," the professional dancer revealed at the time. "It was a wonderful show to work on. When it comes to this time of the year, people start to get paired up with their celebrities that's when I start to miss it. I think, 'Who would I have got if I was still there?'"

Kristina Rihanoff and Robin Windsor attend the launch of Strictly Come Dancing 2012© Getty
Robin Windsor had a professional partnership with Kristina Rihanoff

Tributes pour in 

Tributes poured in for the dancer, including from his professional partner Kristina Rihanoff, who said there are "no words to express the pain and devastation". "Robin wasn't just my dance partner, he was a friend and together we shared endless experiences from our careers highlights to hitting Rockbottom of rejection," she penned, before going to praise Robin's "kindness, lighthearted personality and amazing loyalty". 

"Many of you, who went to see his farewell tour, know perfectly well that he spoke very openly about his mental health struggles and thoughts of a suicide," she continued. "I'm sure it was devastating for anyone who love Robin to hear something like that, but those thoughts were in his head for quite many years and it's so deeply sad that he felt that he is better to another place rather than stay here. Too much pain too much disappointment, too much neglect."

View post on Instagram
 

Signing off the post, the dancer wrote: "Thank you for everything Robin, rest in peace."

Former Strictly professional James Jordan also shared his heartbreak on social media. "I had the pleasure of working with this man for many years on Strictly - I have such fond memories of him," he penned. "He was always very caring and fun to be around. Everyone who came in contact with him adored him, from his celebrity partners to his working colleagues. You will be missed old friend."

Good Morning Britain's Susanna Reid, who danced with Robin back in 2011 during a Strictly special for Children in Need, also shared her devastation while covering the story on Tuesday's programme. Describing the news as "such a shock", she said of Robin: "I fell in love with him and I fell in love with dancing. He was just so enthusiastic about dancing. I just adored him. 

The star was very active on social media and often shared pictures of himself on holiday and with friends© Instagram
Robin passed away at the age of 44

"He was the most incredible personality. There's something very special about him," she added. 

WATCH: Susanna Reid remembers Robin Windsor amid dancer's tragic passing

Later on in the programme, former Strictly professional Erin Boag phoned in and praised Robin as "a great friend to all" and an "amazing dancer". Brendan Cole also appeared on the programme and said the news was "completely devastating". "He was lovely, he didn't have a bad word to say about anybody," he said. "He just loved being on the dance floor, hanging out with his friends. The true life and soul of the party."

Over on social media, Lisa Riley shared her sadness over Robin's death. Paying tribute to her former Strictly dance partner, the actress penned: "My Bestie, My Robin, My Angel…….now our forever Angel, who is loved, will always be loved, forever in my heart……my very broken heart, I love you, shine your beautiful, electric energy from heaven.   SHINE IN PEACE."

View post on Twitter

Robin's ex-fiance, Davide Cini, admitted he was "overwhelmed" by the news in a post on social media. "I deeply appreciate everyone's messages following Robin's untimely passing," he penned. "Please understand that I'm currently overwhelmed and unable to respond individually. Your support means a lot to me. Thank you for respecting my need for space as I come to terms with this tragic loss."

Alison Hammond, who was partnered with Robin in the 2015 Strictly Christmas special, also shared her devastation in a statement read by This Morning hosts Craig Doyle and Josie Gibson on Tuesday. "I've just heard the very sad news about Robin's passing," she said. "I'm completely heartbroken. He was one of the nicest people to work with and so much fun to be around. I had the pleasure of dancing with him for the Strictly Christmas special and they were such special times. My thoughts are with his family and friends."

Meanwhile, Strictly Come Dancing released an official statement in response to Robin's death that read:  "The whole Strictly Come Dancing family are deeply saddened to hear the news about our dear friend Robin Windsor. He was not only an exceptionally talented dancer and choreographer but also a caring, considerate and kind person both on and off the dancefloor. Our thoughts are with his friends and family at this extremely difficult time."

Alison Hammond at This Morning© Rex
Alison Hammond shared her heartbreak in a statement read out on This Morning

Strictly dancer Karen Hauer said she was heartbroken over Robin's passing in an Instagram post. Sharing photos of Robin, including one of the two of them dancing together on stage, Karen penned: "I'm Heartbroken...Robin, you Beautiful human being. I can’t believe it. RIP."

Craig Revel Horwood, who's a judge on the BBC show, also took to social media with a message. "I have just heard the tragic news my dear friend ’Bobby’ Robin Windsor has passed," he began. "He was one of the kindest, gentle, honest, funny and caring people I’ve had the pleasure of knowing and working with. He will be forever missed. My heart goes out to all his family & friends. RIP darling man, you were truly loved x."

Meanwhile, head judge Shirley Ballas penned: "I'm extremely saddened to hear the devastating news about this beautiful human being this morning. Robin Windsor … kind, gracious, gentle and extremely hard working. A wonderful dancer, true gentleman, good soul and so very young. You will be dearly missed by so many. Dance with the angels my friend."

Robin's mental health struggles 

Robin was very open about his mental health struggles over the years and fell into a "dark depression" following his departure from Strictly. 

While he struggled with "bouts of depression" when he was 19 years old, his mental health began to deteriorate when he faced financial difficulties during his time on Strictly

"During my time on Strictly, four things happened to me that were quite bad," he explained during an appearance on the Dr Max's Mind Clinic podcast. "I had a bit of a financial situation with HMRC and I got a bill for £110,000. It took everything that I'd ever saved. It was my fault, and it was something that I hadn't done. Thankfully I had the money but it was everything I ever had. 

Robin Windsor selfie© @robinwindsor/Instagram
Robin was very open about his mental health struggles

"Then my engagement ended and I then started having trouble with my back and had to have surgery. Then I lost my job on Strictly. So all those four things in a short period time caused me to go from the highest point of my life to the lowest quite quickly," he continued. 

"The world just kept throwing things at me and eventually I couldn't take it anymore. My bad days turned to dark days and then they turned to weeks and then it just went black," he explained. "I just wasn't getting out of bed. 

"It's funny, I always had a smile on my face, so people wouldn't know."

Robin went on to explain that after experiencing suicidal thoughts, he decided to seek help and began to work alongside a mental health charity called SANE. He became an ambassador for the organisation in 2018. 

Robin's relationships and engagement 

Robin was in a relationship with X-Factor star Marcus Collins from 2013 to 2015. The pair first met backstage at ITV studios when they passed each other in a corridor. After Marcus saw Robin on the cover of Gay Times, he reached out via social media. 

Speaking about their relationship at the time, Robin explained: "Marcus Tweeted me to say 'You're looking really good, well done'!

Marcus Collins & Robin Windsor at
The Stonewall Equality Dinner - 28 Mar 2015© Alan Davidson/Shutterstock
Robin dated Marcus Collins from 2013 to 2015

"We'd first met at ITV studios a few years ago, when I passed Marcus in the corridor and asked for a photo because he was very handsome."

Reacting to Robin's death on social media, Marcus shared a black-and-white photo of the former couple alongside the caption: "The World just got a lot less sparkly. Robin, You were so loved."

Robin's romance with Marcus came after the end of his relationship with his partner Davide Cini. The pair got engaged in New York in 2013 and lived together in London. They went their separate ways shortly after.