Getty Images Len Goodman
Len Goodman, the former head judge on Dancing with the Stars, has died. He was 78.
Goodman’s manager Jackie Gill confirmed the news in a statement released Monday morning. “It is with great sadness to announce that Len Goodman has passed away peacefully, aged 78,” Gill said in the statement shared with BBC News. “A much loved husband, father and grandfather who will be sorely missed by family, friends and all who knew him.”
Goodman died on Saturday at a hospice in Kent, England, surrounded by his family, according to the BBC. He had bone cancer.
The former professional dancer appeared on DWTS from 2005 until 2022. He was also a head judge on the British version of the show — Strictly Come Dancing — from its launch in 2004 until 2016.
“Len Goodman was a wonderful, warm entertainer who was adored by millions,” BBC Director-General Tim Davie said in a statement shared on Twitter. “He appealed to all ages and felt like a member of everyone’s family. Len was at the very heart of Strictly’s success. He will be hugely missed by the public and his many friends and family.”
Getty Images Len Goodman on DWTS with Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli
Piers Morgan also shared a photo of the pair dancing together in a Twitter tribute. “More very sad news from the world of entertainment…RIP Len Goodman, 78 – welder, dancer, judge, and devoted cricket & West Ham fan,” wrote the TV host, 58. “Always had a laugh with Len, and swapped a few strong opinions. A quintessential Londoner and a top bloke.”
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PEOPLE exclusively confirmed the news of Goodman’s retirement from the Disney+ dance competition series in November 2022. He later shared the news during an episode of DWTS, during which he received a standing ovation from the crowd.
“Doing a live show you have to be at the top of your game and quick to react. And as one gets older, then things start to get more challenging,” he told PEOPLE. “I haven’t fallen asleep or started dribbling yet on the show, so I thought it’s best to go before I start to do so!”
“I will miss the California sunshine, working with my fellow judges and the camaraderie with everyone on the show,” he added. “I’ll miss seeing the celebrities developing into dancers and I will miss being part of one of the most successful shows on TV.”
Goodman, a professional ballroom dancer from England, first joined DWTS as head judge during the show’s first season in 2005. He was joined by Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli, who have continued to serve on the judge’s panel for all 31 seasons. Season 32 is due to air later this year.
Goodman served as a judge for the first 20 seasons before taking a break for season 21. He then returned to judge for seasons 22-28, before taking a break once more in season 29. He then returned for season 30 until his retirement.
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Originally published April 24, 2023 at 2:35 AM