Hits Radio presenter and former Strictly Come Dancing star Gemma Atkinson has shared a heartbreaking family update with her 1.9 million Instagram followers. The host of popular podcast Gemma's Overshare told her followers that her Auntie Shelia had passed away at the age of 92 with a moving video of her late aunt with her daughter Mia, four, who she shares with Strictly pro dancer Gorka Márquez, when she was a baby.
Gemma, 38, also shared a beautiful photo of her Aunt Shelia kissing little Mia in a sweet personal moment.
In the emotional post, Gemma described her late aunt as "the kindest most caring lady and eldest relative we have. The matriarch of our family."
Known for her admirably sunny outlook, the mother-of-two said: "Now at peace and reunited with Uncle Peter and many more relatives, I’m sure they’ll be having a celebration together just as we did today at her send off. As sad as funerals are, it’s always lovely having the family together having a good laugh and a good buffet!."
"Thanks for teaching our family to always stay positive," Gemma continued. "I’m convinced that’s why you lived so happy for so long, because regardless of the situation you always looked on the bright side. Sleep well…I’ll miss your pound coins sellotaped in my Birthday card this year, but I know you’ll check in on everyone now & again ."
Fans of the former Casualty and Hollyoaks star rallied around her, offering their condolences and support for the bereft actress. One Instagram user commented: "So sorry for your loss Gemma, but my God what a precious video of them both you can treasure. She reminds me of my dear Nan, their generation was one of a kind."
Another follower had personally encountered Gemma's aunt and shared a heartwarming message with the actress. She said: "My daughter was in Shelia's grandson's class at school. She also lived round the corner from me and I had many a lovely chat with her on the way home from school.
"Shelia was always so positive and enthusiastic," she continued. "Such a lovely lady. Rest in peace Shelia."
Co-host of her drive time slot on Hits Radio, Mike Toolan, also shared a love heart emoji to remind Gemma he was thinking of her, and Strictly pro Karen Hauer commented with prayer and a love heart emojis.
Those who keenly follow Gemma will know intimate family moments are close to her heart. She frequently shares personal moments at home with partner Gorka, 33, and their two children Mia and Thiago, as well as times with friends and former Strictly pros Aljaz Skorjanec, Janette Manrara and their new baby Lyra.