Len Goodman, Former Head Judge on ‘Dancing With the Stars,’ Dies at 78

Len Goodman, Former Head Judge on ‘Dancing With the Stars,’ Dies at 78

Len Goodman, the legendary and longtime Dancing With the Stars judge, has died at age 78 after a battle with bone cancer. His manager, Jackie Gill, confirmed the sad news earlier today in a statement that read: “It is with great sadness to announce that Len Goodman has passed away peacefully, aged 78. A much loved husband, father and grandfather who will be sorely missed by family, friends and all who knew him.” The statement also said Len had died on Saturday night at a hospice in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, surrounded by his family.

According to his official website, Len began dancing at age 19 and became a full-fledged professional before venturing into television as a long-standing fixture on the British celebrity dance competition Strictly Come Dancing from its inception in 2004 all the way through 2016. Around the same time, he also began his tenure as a judge on Dancing With the Stars from its 2005 premiere through 2022.

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Around the world, people were shocked by the sad news, and an outpouring of heartfelt messages on social media immediately began—including several posts from Len’s fellow judges on Dancing With the Stars. “Heart broken my dear friend and partner for 19 years the one and only ballroom legend #lengoodman passed away I will treasure the memory of our incredible adventures and hundreds of shows we did together @bbcstrictly @dancingwiththestars they will never be anyone like you we will miss you ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️,” Bruno Tonioli wrote on Instagram alongside a candid photo of himself and Len smiling and hugging.

Carrie Ann Inaba also took to the platform to share a video montage of sweet moments with Len over the years, in part captioning the video, “A Dancer. A teacher. A refined gentleman. A wonderful storyteller. A special soul. A mentor. A family man. And…A treasured friend. Saying goodbye at the end of last season broke my heart. But today’s news has shattered it all over again. I can’t believe that you’re gone. 💔”

Just last November, Len announced his retirement from the hit show after being on it for a remarkable 17 years. “This will be my last season judging on Dancing With the Stars,” Len said during the second-to-last season 31 episode. “I’ve been with the show since it started in 2005 and it has been a huge pleasure to be part of such a wonderful show, but I’ve decided I would like to spend more time with my grandchildren and family back in Britain. I cannot thank you enough, the Dancing With the Stars family, it’s been such a wonderful experience for me and I’m looking forward so much to next week’s finale.”

You can watch a clip of the bittersweet moment here:

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