Carson Daly on death of tWitch: ‘We have to stop assuming’ people are OK

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Carson Daly spoke out about the importance of checking in and having real conversations with your loved ones while reflecting on the life of Stephen “tWitch” Boss, who died by suicide on Dec. 13 at the age of 40.

“This one’s really hard to wrap your head around because so many people who were close to tWitch are trying to figure out: What was it? What happened?” the TODAY co-host asked.

Carson Daly, Julianne Hough and tWitch during NBC’s New Year’s Eve 2021.NBC

“I think people have to just stop assuming that when you see people on television, when you see them on social media, that they’re OK,” he continued. “Especially with the dancing — dancing is such a symbol of freedom and happiness and joy. We have to stop assuming.”

Carson called out how social media can be especially harmful explaining, “Everybody’s propping up the best part of themselves, and it’s taking away from real conversations happening.”

Boss, known for his work on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” was a runner-up on the fourth season of “So You Think You Can Dance.” He started as a DJ on DeGeneres’ show in 2014 and served as an executive producer from 2020 until the show ended earlier this year.

“I’m heartbroken,” DeGeneres said in an Instagram post. “tWitch was pure love and light. He was my family, and I loved him with all my heart. I will miss him.”

Carson and Boss co-hosted NBC’s “New Year’s Eve 2021,” and Carson described Boss as having a “50,000 watt smile.”

“But what we do know about mental health, is that from the from the onset of the first symptom of mental health, the time that elapses before the average person who seeks any form of help or treatment is 11 years,” Carson said. “It tells us that people are suffering in silence.”

He also gave a shoutout to the organization Black Men Heal and its team members Doug Reed and Reggie Howard. They’re “in the trenches every day for culturally appropriate information in a situation like this,” Carson said.

“Boy, will (tWitch) be missed,” he added.

TODAY co-anchor Hoda Kotb recalled having Boss on the show earlier this year and that he shared that he wanted to start his own talk show.

“He said, ‘Do you think I can do it?’ This was a person with dreams and hopes and a lot of things, and that was just in July,” Hoda said. “So you don’t know. You really don’t know.”

Boss was married to Allison Holker Boss, who also competed on “So You Think You Can Dance,” and they share three children.

“Stephen lit up every room he stepped into. He valued family, friends and community above all else and leading with love and light was everything to him,” Holker Boss said in a statement to NBC News. “He was the backbone of our family, the best husband and father, and an inspiration to his fans. To say he left a legacy would be an understatement, and his positive impact will continue to be felt.”

“I am certain there won’t be a day that goes by that we won’t honor his memory,” she continued.

Carson has been open about his own mental health struggles. He shared in June that he once wanted to run off stage while filming “The Voice” because he was having a panic attack.

“You think my right hand’s in my pocket just being casual. ‘I’m on TV and my life is so great,'” he said during an Instagram Live as part of TODAY’s Mind Matters series. “The truth is, in that moment, I was gripping the flash of my upper right thigh because a wave of panic was coming through me, and I was so scared. I wanted to run off the stage because it’s one of the symptoms of panic.”

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