Lindsey Stirling has had an incredibly tragic year.
The violinist is mourning the loss of her father, Stephen, who died of throat cancer. And on Monday night’s episode of Dancing with the Stars, she honored him with her routine for Most Memorable Year Week, choosing 2017.
“I am the woman I am today because of you and I love you so much,” she said on the reality dancing competition series.
To celebrate her dad’s life, Stirling and pro partner Mark Ballas — who wore her father’s hat and scarf as part of his costume — performed a touching Viennese Waltz. “I felt like I was dancing with my dad,” said Stirling, who was awarded a 26/30 by judges.
“I feel like I got to thank my dad in a way I’ve never been able to before. I was really looking forward to this dance, I was terrified to do it and I’m really happy,” she said. “When you’re dancing about something that is so important that means so much to you doing something I’ve never done before, I just wanted it to be so special. And I feel like it was.”
In January, the YouTube star announced the sad news on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, writing, “My dad passed away early this morning. There is nothing to say that could express my gratitude for this amazing, selfless man.”
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She added, “But I love you daddy. I’m the woman I am today because of you.”
Along with the loving message, the America’s Got Talent alum shared a childhood photo of herself and her father.
— Lindsey Stirling (@LindseyStirling) December 22, 2015
In June 2016, Stirling’s father, a religious educator and author, detailed his battle with cancer on his website.
“The pain in my throat persists. (That pain is likely the residual result of radiation and chemotherapy. In other words, I now suffer from the cure, now that the disease has fled. Ironic.),” he wrote about his illness, which he was diagnosed for in late 2015.
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The father of five wrote his final Facebook post. “As I prepare to write the next chapter of my life, I am not afraid. God be with you ’til we meet again,” he said.
Dancing with the Stars airs Mondays (8 p.m. ET) on ABC.