Although Laurie Hernandez and Val Chmerkovskiy triumphantly slid into the “Dancing with the Stars” finals after their flawless Monday night performance, life behind the “DWTS” scenes this week has been a lot less joyful for the young Olympian.
In a pre-taped segment, cameras followed Laurie as she visited her grandma, Brunilda, in a nursing home. The touching bit focused on Laurie’s special relationship with her grandma, who she says always supported her dream of becoming a gymnast.
“I am extremely close to my grandma,” Laurie said. “Growing up, she would always do my hair, she was always the one who would make me chocolate milk or rice when I came home.”
My grandma suffers from Alzheimer’s so her memory is not that great,” she continued. “I kind of feel bad, I’ve been away from home, so I haven’t been able to see her as much as I used to. She’s not doing very well, but I think I’m going to see her very soon.”
Sadly, after showing Laurie’s touching interview and visit with her grandma, “DWTS” revealed that Brunilda had lost her battle with Alzheimer’s just one day after the interview was recorded.
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Today was pretty rough and emotional; but I'm grateful to have the people I'm closest to help pick me back up. I lost someone very dear to me. My grandma was a tough cookie, and she'll always have a special place in my heart. Thanks for all of your love and support; and thank you @iamvalc for being there for me and looking out for me❤️
They even shared Brunilda’s final words of encouragement and love to her granddaughter.
If you’re not crying,…
Just three days after hearing the devastating news, Laurie went out on stage to perform two routines in order to secure her place in the finals.
Being the professional she is, a teary-eyed Laurie nailed the routines, dedicating it all to her grandma.
After each performance, the young talent received a much-deserved standing ovation.