Lindsey Stirling Honors Father's Loss to Throat Cancer on 'Dancing With the Stars'

On Monday night’s episode of “Dancing with the Stars,” violinist Lindsey Stirling honored the memory of her father with an emotional performance of a Vienna Waltz.

“Tonight’s dance was so special. I love you Dad and I know you were there with me.”

Stirling’s father, Stephen, passed away from throat cancer on January 24. The morning he passed she shared a childhood photo with her fans:

According to the American Cancer Society, throat cancer (also known as laryngeal cancer), will cause about 3,660 deaths (2,940 men and 720 women) this year alone.

In the montage that played before her performance with partner Mark Ballss, Stirling emotionally recalled the last year of her father’s life:

The year my dad passed away changed me. My dad was the best dad in the world. He had this boisterous personality and he always wore a scarf and a hat. That was his signature — he never was without it. In 2016, we found out that my dad had cancer and to hear that, everything stops. It was the hardest year of my life to watch someone that I love so much just kind of deteriorate.

The last moments of my dad’s life were some of the most special moment’s I’ve ever experienced. My sisters, my mom and I were all around his bed holding his hands. We started telling stories, and before we knew it, we were laughing and we were crying, and all the bitterness and all the anger went away because rather than being angry at what I was losing, I was so grateful for what I had.

He made me from a very young age realize it’s OK to be different. If I could say one more thing to my dad it would be ‘thank you’ because I am the woman I am today because of you and I love you so much.

After the performance, with partner Ballas wearing her father’s actual hat and scarf, Stirling received a standing ovation. Many of the judges were visibly touched by what they had seen.

“It felt like one of those beautiful dreams you never want to wake up from,” said judge Bruno Tonioli.

GOOSEBUMPS! We love you so much, @lindseystirling. #TeamStark #DWTS

A post shared by Dancing with the Stars (@dancingabc) on

While waiting for their score, which turned out to be 26/30, Stirling said:

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. 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.

Watch the entire performance below:

Header image via Instagram

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