Dancer AJ praises 'superman' brother Curtis
Strictly's AJ Pritchard has called his brother his "real life Superman" after saying he saved him from a pack of nightclub attackers.
Dancer AJ (24) was bruised and his brother Curtis (22) was left needing knee surgery following the incident on December 27 in Nantwich, Cheshire.
AJ said the brothers were set upon by a group of men during a night out and that Curtis, a professional dancer on RTE1's Dancing With The Stars, "saved his life" and risked his own career by trying to shield AJ from the blows.
Posting a picture of the pair on social media, along with a Superman cutout, AJ called Curtis his "best friend".
"With my real life superMAN – closes 2018 on a SUPER Positive note," he wrote.
"Thank you for all the love & support over the past few days.
"Thank you to each & everyone of the thousands of messages we have received.
"Yes it is a vile situation, but honestly the love has been overwhelming."
He went on: "My brother is my BEST friend by choice @CurtisPritchard ... Happy New Year to everyone... It's has been a Positive 2018 & will be a fantastic 2019..."
The Pritchard family said in a statement after the incident: "AJ and Curtis were assaulted whilst on a night-out with two friends on December 27 in an unprovoked attack in Nantwich, Cheshire.
"Curtis is due to undergo an emergency operation in the next few days to correct the damages he has sustained to his knee, he is also recovering from injuries to his eye and face.
"AJ received bruising to his face, arms, body and legs.
"Statements have been given to Cheshire Police and they are currently undergoing an investigation."
The force told the paper a 20-year-old man had been arrested and released under investigation.
Dancing With The Stars Ireland has confirmed Curtis will not have recovered from his injuries in time for the new series of the show, which is due to begin on January 6, 2019.
A statement from the show shared on Twitter said: "Dancing with the Stars wish Curtis a speedy recovery.
"A replacement for Curtis on the show is currently being arranged by ShinAwiL and we look forward to welcoming Curtis back when he recovers."
AJ finished fifth in this year's Strictly series alongside celebrity partner Lauren Steadman.