Tributes as Dancing On Ice star Sean Rice dies aged 49
ITV have lead tributes to the skater
Ice skater and Dancing on Ice star Sean Rice has died at the age of 49.
The professional ice skater, who appeared on the show in 2011 and 2012, passed away on January 14, according to friends.
He leaves behind his wife Jodeyne Higgins and their daughter Signey.
Friend and fellow skater Frankie Poultney shared the sad news on Twitter.
Poultney wrote: "Pro skaters are heartbroken today, we lost a true larger than life great - an epic skater, a husband, father, and my friend of 20 years.
"Sean Rice, 20/07/72 - 14/01/22 gone too soon, but we will Love You For A Thousand Years. All of our thoughts are with Signey and Jodeyne."
Pro skaters are heartbroken today, we lost a true larger than life great - an epic skater, a husband, father, and my friend of 20yrs - Sean Rice, 20/07/72 - 14/01/22 gone too soon but we will Love You For A Thousand Years - all our thoughts are with Signey & Jodeyne 💔💔 pic.twitter.com/MdNQzrjSXX
— Frankie 🇺🇦 (@FrankieSk8) January 15, 2022
A spokesperson for Dancing On Ice said: "We are all deeply saddened to hear this news. Sean was a wonderful skater and friend to many on the Dancing On Ice team. Our thoughts are with his family at this sad time."
In the two years that he was on the show, Rice skated with former newsreader Angela Rippon in 2011 and GB Alpine ski racer Chemmy Alcott.
Alcott paid tribute to Rice with a message on Twitter: "Have just heard the tragic news that Sean Rice, my partner from DOI, has passed away.
"The world will miss your amazing energy and your healing hands. All my love to J and S."
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Other stars from the show paid tribute to the skater.
Matt Evers, who is partnering Coronation Street star Sally Dynevor in this year's series shared Poultney's tribute, writing: "One of the best... thank you Sean for your gift.
"This routine from The Professionals on Ice was incredible. It was a pleasure to know and work with you."
One of the best… thank you Sean for your gift. This routine from The Professionals on Ice was incredible. It was a pleasure to know and work with you… 💔 https://t.co/cTHlDvNcsE
— Matt Evers🇺🇦 (@TheMattEvers) January 16, 2022
A GoFundMe page has been set up in the wake of the news of Rice's death.
Organiser named Mary White wrote on the fundraising page: "The world has lost a great man - a coach, son, friend, husband and poppa bear. It's with immense sadness to say that Sean Rice has passed away.
"Sean was a passionate, larger than life man who would stop and give to anyone who needed him. It's with that same spirit, we are reaching out to everyone to pour prayers and love over Jodeyne and Signey during this very difficult time.
"So many people have reached out asking how they can help and so we have set up this Go Fund account to support Jodeyne and Signey at this time. Let's take care of them the same way Sean always took care of others."