Gemma Atkinson heartbroken over death of family member who 'changed her life'

Gemma with her beloved dog Norman and son Thiago in their home
-Credit: (Image: UKTV)

Gemma Atkinson has revealed the heartbreaking news that her beloved dog has passed away, describing saying goodbye to her pet as the "hardest decision of her life".

The ex-Hollyoaks actress shared a touching tribute alongside a video of her pooch Norman. She penned: "My beautiful boy Norman has passed away. My heart is broken. 12 years ago I made a promise to him that i would always take care of him and never allow him be in pain or to suffer. Had I put off making the hardest decision of my life any longer I would have broken that promise.

"It's hard to express how much Norman transformed my life for the better. Simply by just being there. Through all the ups and downs over the last 12 years, he's been there with Ollie, making everything ok. My favourite weekends were spent on long walks exploring together, then home to snuggle in bed with them both watching a film while they peacefully snoozed."

Gemma Atkinson with her dog Norman
Gemma Atkinson has been left heartbroken over the death of her dog Norman -Credit:Instagram/@glouiseatkinson

Gemma continued: "I think I'll miss that the most...That and the fact Norm was always the only one in the whole house to get up and come downstairs with me in the mornings no matter how early it was. My 5am club won't be the same without his company. He was my first experience of being a mum and having someone other than myself to care for. He's taught me a lot.

"Mainly to always live in the moment, remain positive and to keep trying. He never stopped trying to just get up and please me. Even at the end. He was the most gentle and caring soul combined with fierce love and loyalty to his family, his pack."

Gemma Atkinson stands in woodland area with her dogs Norman and Ollie
Gemma Atkinson with her dogs Norman and Ollie -Credit:PA

The mum of two, who shares Mia, four, and baby Thiago with Strictly pro fiancé Gorka Marquez continued: "I believe he was always meant to be my dog. I feel so sad for Ollie who's not wondering where Norman is Smelling him but not being able to see or play with him will be confusing

"I've read that dogs too notice the absence of other dogs, and i know he's just as sad as I am. And of course I'm beyond sad for Mia. Normans woken her up by going into her room and pinching her Snuggie almost everyday of her life. She's never known him or Ollie to not be here. Her first best friend. And so close to her 5th Birthday.

"They say the sadness we feel when we lose a loved one is the price we pay for loving them so much, and boy did i love you Norman. In all these years the only time you've broken my heart is today, when yours stopped beating. I'm going to love you, miss you and remember you forever. Until we meet again Norman... Go and run again and have some fun up there with my dad. You're such a good boy."

Gemma and Gorka
Gemma and Gorka share kids Mia and Thiago -Credit:UKTV

Gemma received an outpouring of love from her celebrity friends and fans after sharing the sad news. Karen Hauer expressed her sympathy, writing: "Oh Gemma, my heart aches for you .. sending all the love."

While Neil Jones conveyed his condolences with a simple broken heart emoji. Another fan also shared their sorrow, penning: "So sorry to hear about Norman, I loved seeing him on your stories and this has made me cry, you all must be so devastated sending love."