Details have just emerged that a ‘bullied’ ballet dancer dubbed the next Billy Elliot who was found dead aged 14 after starring on TV reportedly hanged himself.
Jack Burns, 14, an accomplished dancer who appeared in the TV drama Outlander in 2014, was found dead at home in Greenock, Inverclyde, on December 1.
He won a place at the Elite Academy of Dance and the Royal Conservatoire in Glasgow, appeared in ITV thriller Plain Sight and several BBC productions. The teenager, who was described as an ‘inspiration’ by his teachers and took up dancing seven years ago, also played rugby and football. Jack was rushed to hospital, where he was later pronounced dead, after being found hanged at his home.
The pupil at St Columba’s school in Kilmacolm leaves behind mother Karen, 46, father Robert, 47, and brother Rory. The talented youngster also appeared in ITV thriller In Plain Sight alongside actor Martin Compston, who hails from the same hometown.
Jack trained at the Elite Academy of Dance in Greenock and also at the Royal Conservatoire in Glasgow and drew comparisons with Billy Elliot, a role he auditioned for in 2015.
Tributes have poured in from shocked friends and family since the death was announced.
He attended St Columba’s School in Kilmacolm and leaves behind his mother Karen, 46, father Robert, 47, and brother Rory, who is also said to have been in Outlander. Jack also worked as a model, fronting campaigns for global brands through his contracts with The Model Team in Glasgow. Shocked friends took to Facebook to pay tribute to the boy. One wrote: ‘Jack was such an amazing boy and he did not deserve the stuff he went through. He never ever wanted to hurt anyone, there was not a bad bone in his body.
‘I’m absolutely heartbroken that I have lost someone who meant so much to me and many more people.’ Another said: ‘Your parents / family / friends must be so unbelievably proud of you and what you’ve achieved.
‘What an amazing person and to do what makes you happy and be you, no matter what. Takes such rare courage that a lot of us don’t have.’
Father Thomas Boyle, priest of St Mary’s Church in Greenock, where his funeral will be held tomorrow: ‘This is a tragedy for the family which is inexplicable.
‘Everyone will be at the funeral tomorrow to support Karen, Robert and his brother Rory.
‘Everything he participated in so well in his life will be there, from the ballet school, his rugby club, and the people he played football with. Everyone’s absolutely devastated by what’s happened.’ News of his death was shared on the Facebook page of Elite Academy of Dance. A statement read: ‘It is with a very heavy heart that we write this post. ‘Tragically as you know we lost our much loved student Jack Burns on Sunday, December 1.
A Police Scotland spokesman said: ‘At around 3.30pm on December 1, police were called following the death of a 14-year-old boy within a house in Greenock.
‘Enquiries are ongoing to establish the exact cause of his death which police are not treating as suspicious.’