Val Chmerkovskiy is mourning the loss of longtime friend and "brother" Serge Onik, a professional dancer who appeared on So You Think You Can Dance and Dancing With the Stars before his death at the age of 33. After news broke Wednesday of Onik's death, Chmerkovskiy took to Instagram with a heartbreaking tribute to his late friend, beginning, "Can't believe I'm actually writing this. I love you Serge."
Sharing a photo of the two in their younger years, sitting on the edge of a moving truck, Chmerkovskiy praised Onik's "love and excitement for life and the people around" him. "You made every moment you were a part of better," he continued. "No words will truly describe the quality of human you were to me how much you loved me and how many times you were there for me in every and any capacity."
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Chmerkovskiy revealed he already feels "emptier" with Onik gone. "Moving on from this won't be hard it'll be impossible," he continued. "The colors will be just a little less bright, the moments a little less memorable without you there." The pro dancers not only grew up together, they also moved and lived together, and despite life sometimes getting in the way, would always find themselves reconnected "like we never missed a beat."
"Our friendship was unconditional," he continued, praising Onik for only seeing the best in people and trying "to bring joy to all of them." Onik was a "real friend" who put others ahead of himself, the two-time Mirror Ball winner shared "It still feels unreal," he continued. "There is so much life I still wanted to share with you."
Calling Onik "a brother in its purest definition," Chmerkovskiy acknowledged that while his friend would want him to be celebrating his life instead of mourning, it was hard to accept he would never see him again or feel his "patented embrace that was always sincere and filled with absolute love." The dancer concluded, "How permanent this is, is simply heartbreaking. I hope you're in a better place brother. Rest easy Serge."