“He Was My Family,” Ellen DeGeneres and Other Celebrities Pay a Heartbreaking Tribute to Stephen “tWitch” Boss, Her Long-Time DJ and Friend
Stephen Boss, a.k.a., tWitch, is mostly remembered from his So You Think You Can Dance stint, and, more notably, as Ellen DeGeneres’ sidekick. He recently passed away at the age of 40, and his loved ones and friends from the industry have taken to social media to honor his memory. Here’s a glimpse at his colorful journey and how he spread love and joy to audiences all over the world.
Boss built his career on his amazing dancing skills.
tWitch was dancing on TV as early as 2003, as a contestant on MTV’s The Wade Robson Project and on Star Search. He also choreographed for South Korean performers, like Seven and Big Bang. He grooved on the big screen as an extra in Blades of Glory and Hairspray. In 2008, he joined So You Think You Can Dance, where he finished as a runner-up.
He met his wife while dancing and performing.
It was at the All-Star Season 7 of So You Think You Can Dance when Boss and Allison Holker waltzed their way into each other’s lives. “There was no conversation or first hangout. Literally, we danced, and we were together holding hands the very next day,” Holker shared.
They walked down the aisle in 2013, and had 3 children together. Boss adopted Holker’s daughter Weslie, and the couple eventually had their own kids — Maddox and Zaia. A few days before he passed, Boss and Holker celebrated their 9th wedding anniversary with touching posts on their respective Instagram accounts.
tWitch shared a very special relationship with talk show host, Ellen DeGeneres.
The 2 met after the producers of So You Think You Can Dance set DeGeneres up with tWitch to help her out with a dance number. “tWitch came over to my house... It was like a crash course in getting to know each other... and he was so patient with me. We just bonded over learning to dance together,” Ellen recalled.
In 2014, DeGeneres invited him to be a guest DJ, and from then on, they were inseparable. In 2020, Boss became a co-executive producer on the daytime talk show. And when the host faced controversies, he stood by her side. “There’s been love and there will continue to be love,” he said about working with DeGeneres.
Before the long-running show ended, DeGeneres surprised her dear friend with a tribute. “Over a decade ago, I met someone who changed my life and our show. And I’m talking about you tWitch.” The host recalled their fondest memories and expressed how much she loved him. “I count on him to look over at me or make silly jokes, and he’s my pal. You know, he’s my sidekick.”
She then handed tWitch a framed photo of them together, walking out of the stage in an embrace — as they always do after they end the show. An emotional Boss replied, “I love the family that we made. And something that I will always remember is that you gave me a place where I could just be myself.”
DeGeneres shared a moving tribute after the news of tWitch’s passing came out.
“I’m heartbroken. tWitch was pure love and light. He was my family, and I loved him with all my heart. I will miss him. Please send your love and support to Allison and his beautiful children — Weslie, Maddox, and Zaia,” the former host wrote.
Other celebrities also posted on their social media accounts to pay their respects to Boss.
Among the many stars who honored Boss was Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who said, “I am so sorry to hear the heartbreaking news about tWitch. Great guy. Sending his family all the love, light, strength, and mana.”
Justin Timberlake also posted, “I’ve known Twitch for over 20 years through the dance community — he always lit everything up.”
Singer and actress Jennifer Lopez expressed her sympathies on Instagram, saying, “tWitch was such a light and a beautiful soul. Shocked and deeply saddened.”
Jada Pinkett Smith recalled, “He was so sweet, kind, and generous,” while Paula Abdul described Boss as someone who “greeted the world every day with a beautiful smile that was a direct reflection of his beautiful heart.”
“He was the backbone of our family.”
tWitch may have touched many lives, but the people who are most affected by his passing are his family. Holker honored her late husband, saying, “Stephen lit up every room he stepped into. He valued family, friends, and community above all else, and leading with love and light was everything to him.” She added that he was, “the best husband and father, and an inspiration to his fans.”
She concluded her statement with a final message for her beloved husband — “Stephen, we love you, we miss you, and I will always save the last dance for you.”
Do you also have someone special that brings a lot of light and joy into your life, just like tWitch did for his loved ones?