webnexttech | BBC Strictly Come Dancing star danced hours after dad's funeral and hidden cancer diagnosis
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A Strictly Come Dancing star who danced on the BBC show hours after attending his father’s funeral has revealed he didn’t know his dad had cancer. Former Rugby Union player turned TNT Sports pundit Ugo Monye dedicated his first dance with pro partner Oti Mabuse to his dad Theophilus, who died aged 81 three weeks before the competition started in 2021. But the 41-year-old has revealed he had no idea his father, who lived in Nigeria, was ill before he died during the time of the Covid pandemic – and the fact he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer wasn’t passed on to his family by carers until after his death. That decision – coupled with travel being limited during that period – meant that Ugo never got the chance to say goodbye to his father, who he had not seen for several years. Oil businessman Theophilus had moved to Nigeria after splitting with Ugo’s mum more than 15 years earlier. Dad-of-two Ugo was at a friend’s book launch when he heard the “shocking” news his dad had gone, but he didn’t want to leave early “in case people started asking questions”. He even had to attend his father’s funeral via Zoom due to travel restrictions to Nigeria at the time. It later emerged that Ugo’s dad had been ill for six months before he died from prostate cancer. Opening up about his father’s passing to The Sun, Ugo said: “It was a massive shock. A huge amount of grief. It’s just the frustration as well, because prostate cancer is so treatable. I wish my dad had been made aware or perhaps been more proactive in understanding what he had. With lots of people who contract prostate cancer, you can get treatment which can ultimately save lives. Any loss is a sad loss, but when you get a sense it could have been prevented, that’s something that just lingers.” Appearing on Strictly just a few hours later, he confessed: “I can’t provide a coherent answer on how I got through that night. I knew the day would be a difficult one. Strictly was a distraction during that time and part of me was grateful for that distraction and release.” On the night of the show, Ugo dedicated his very first dance – a samba to the song Iko Iko (My Bestie) by Justin Wellington ft Small Jam – to his dad. Viewers were in tears as he said: “So my dad passed away a couple of weeks ago so we had his funeral this morning. During the funeral, they spoke about today being a day of celebration – and that’s exactly how today feels. So there’s no better way of celebrating him by dancing. Tonight feels really special.” Following his performance, the Strictly judges praised Ugo for “giving it his all” while fans were quick to comment on his bravery. Despite a back injury, Ugo managed to make it to week five of the competition before being unanimously voted off by all four judges. That year’s Strictly was won by EastEnders star Rose Ayling-Ellis and her pro partner Giovanni Pernice. Ahead of Father’s Day, Ugo is now aiming to raise awareness of prostate cancer and its symptoms and has launched a new campaign to encourage men to check themselves as early diagnosis can help save lives. It comes as he discovered one in four black men will get the disease during their lifetime, compared to other males who have a one in eight chance of developing the cancer. The TV pundit has teamed up with GenesisCare, the UK’s leading specialist cancer care provider, to promote the Know Your Roots campaign. It encourages men to find out about their family prostate cancer history to encourage early diagnosis and help protect future generations from it. Former Harlequins winger Ugo said: “My father died of prostate cancer in 2021, and I had no idea until then that Black men are more than twice as likely to get the disease than other men. That’s a scary statistic. It’s so important to know your roots and share your story with others.” Symptoms of prostate cancer can include: -Urge to urinate -Urinating more often, particularly at night -Difficulty urinating -Weak urine flow -Leaking of urine You have an increased risk of prostate cancer if: -You are over the age of 50 -You have a family history of prostate cancer -You are overweight or have obesity -You have different hormone levels. Men with higher levels of insulin-like growth factor 1 are at higher risk -Your ethnicity is black, as UK research has shown 1 in 4 black men will get prostate cancer in their lifetime For more about prostate cancer, you can visit the Genesis Care website or you can download their Father’s Day card and find out more about the Know Your Roots campaign here Follow Mirror Celebs on TikTok , Snapchat , Instagram , Twitter , Facebook , YouTube and Threads Do you have a story to sell? Get in touch with us at webcelebs@trinitymirror.com or call us direct 0207 29 33033

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