Carrie Ann Inaba, a co-judge of "Dancing With The Stars," has revealed that her father died only days before the ABC show's season 16 premiere.
Ibana, who was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii, described the "tremendous sadness" she felt after her father's passing and dedicated the first show to his memory in a blog post for People magazine.
The 45-year-old show co-judge and dancer wrote the following in the piece, titled "Why Monday Night Was Very Emotional For Me":
"My father, Rodney Y. Inaba, passed away this past Thursday morning and it's been a really challenging time," she wrote. "Losing a loved one is something that is so very hard to understand and cope with. I'm filled with a tremendous sadness but also a relief, for he is in a better place now."
"I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to make it through the show with all the emotions that have been overflowing," she continued. "But I felt my father's spirit was with me last night, supporting me and cheering me on. And I dedicated the show to him, in gratitude for all that he taught me about life; for his bravery, his courage, his huge heart and his love for the underdog."
"He was a special man and to know him was to love him," she said. "He was a pioneer, an entrepreneur, an animal lover and he was never afraid to speak his mind. I think I got some of this from him. I'm grateful for the gifts he has bestowed upon me. And in honor of my father, I chose to do the first show and not take the time off because in my heart, I know he would have wanted it that way."
Inaba also shared tender words on Twitter, where she posted an old photograph from her youth. The image, faded by the years, depicted her family in a joyful moment by the shore.
"In memory of my Dad.....thanks for making me who I am," she added as a caption. "I love you...Rest In Peace...you deserve it."