Serge Onik, a professional dancer and choreographer who competed in Season 11 of So You Think You Can Dance, has died at the age of 33. The cause of death is currently unknown.
Onik’s representative Jim Keith, president of The Movement Talent Agency, confirmed his death in a statement to Entertainment Weekly on Tuesday.
“He was an amazing dancer with a huge heart and he touched the lives of everyone who met him,” Keith said. “He will be truly missed. This is a sad day for us at the agency and for the dance community as a whole.”
Onik, who was born in Kharkiv, Ukraine, moved to the United States with his family when he was 3-years-old. He started dancing at the age of 9, eventually joining the ranks of competitive ballroom dancing. In 2014, he competed on SYTYCD Season 11, where he finished in the Top 10.
Following his appearance on SYTYCD, Onik picked up work in several stage shows and TV series, including Dancing With The Stars, where he worked as a choreographer, working closely with Meryl Davis and Maks Chmerkovskiy. He also appeared as a dancer in Sway: A Dance Trilogy alongside many of the pro dancers from the hit ABC competition series.
His most recent role was a brief appearance in Lin-Manuel Miranda‘s In the Heights this summer. “I mean it’s for literally 2 seconds but I’ve never been more honored to be part of a project, for a few reasons,” he wrote on Instagram back in June. “It’s such a privilege to be part of a movie that represents the cultures and peoples and dance genre that basically raised me and I owe my whole everything to.”
Following the news of Onik’s passing, tributes poured in from his friends and peers. Dancing With The Stars pro dancer Elena Grinenko shared an old photo of Onik on Instagram, writing alongside it, “RIP @sergeonik We going to miss you. I’m so sad that world lost such an amazing person like you.”
Figure skating analyst Jackie Wong also tweeted a heartfelt message, writing, “The world lost Serge Onik today. He touched the figure skating world through his crossover from dance into skating choreography. I did not personally know him but I sure benefited from his creative genius.”
The world lost Serge Onik today. He touched the figure skating world through his crossover from dance into skating choreography. I did not personally know him but I sure benefited from his creative genius. To those who knew and loved him, my heart is with you.
— Jackie Wong (@rockerskating) August 24, 2021
Meanwhile, Kristyn Burtt, host of Dance Dish, tweeted, “My heart is broken. @sergeonik was not only an incredible talent, but he was a great friend.”
My heart is broken. @sergeonik was not only an incredible talent, but he was a great friend.
My last interview with him was a little over a year ago: https://t.co/FMru36vV3t
RIP, my friend.💔🙏: https://t.co/kSBYa7BN6T
— Kristyn Burtt 💃🏼 (@KristynBurtt) August 24, 2021