Len Goodman, the long-serving judge on Dancing with the Stars and Strictly Come Dancing, has died. He was 78.
His agent Jackie Gill said Goodman “passed away peacefully” Saturday night.
“Len died on Saturday evening surrounded by his family in a hospice in Kent. He has bone cancer. He kept his sense of humor throughout his illness and was a ‘true gentleman,’” his manager said in a statement Monday, according to Good Morning America.
After 31 seasons as head judge on DWTS, Goodman stepped down in November 2022.
“I’ve been with the show since it started in 2005 and it has been a huge pleasure to be a part of such a wonderful show,” he said at the time.
He added he was looking forward to spending more time with his family “back in Britain.”
The former professional ballroom dancer and British champion is credited with reviving interest in ballroom dancing on both sides of the Atlantic.
He starred as the head judge on Strictly Come Dancing for 12 seasons after it premiered on the BBC in 2004 before moving to the US version, DWTS, where he served as head judge until his retirement in November 2022.
Following the announcement of his death, many connected to each dancing competition relayed their heartfelt condolences.
Carrie Ann Inaba, fellow judge, called Goodman, “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,” she added in the caption of a video montage shared on Instagram.
Kym Johnson-Herjavec, who appeared on the show as a professional dancer from 2006 – 2015, also expressed her sadness over the loss of a “class act.”
“Heavens gates are covered in 10 paddles and mirror balls today. Nothing made you feel better than getting a 10 from Len. He was a class act with a cheeky grin and quick wit. You will be so missed. Rest In Peace, sweet Len.”
DWTS‘ former host Tom Bergeron shared a short, but sweet tribute to Goodman.
“A Good Man, indeed. ”
BBC director-general Tim Davie described Goodman as “a wonderful, warm entertainer who was adored by millions. 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.”
Rest in peace, Len. You were an absolute legend. Thanks for all the memories.