Len Goodman Dies: Former ‘Dancing With The Stars’ Judge Was 78

Len Goodman
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Ballroom dancing legend Len Goodman, who served as a judge on Dancing with the Stars and its U.K. counterpart Strictly Come Dancing, has died. He was 78.

Goodman’s agent, Jackie Gill, confirmed the passing, telling Sky News that the dancer and choreographer “died peacefully” on Saturday (April 22) night surrounded by his family at a hospice in Kent, England. He had been diagnosed with bone cancer.

“It is with great sadness to announce that Len Goodman has passed away peacefully, aged 78,” Gill said in a statement. “A much loved husband, father and grandfather who will be sorely missed by family, friends and all who knew him.”

Goodman was the head judge on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars from 2005 to 2022, and simultaneously on Strictly Come Dancing from 2004 to 2016. He was beloved for his witty humor and good-natured banter.

He announced his retirement from ABC’s long-running competition series last year during the Season 31 semi-final.

“It’s been a huge pleasure to be a huge part of such a wonderful show,” Goodman said during the episode, sharing his desire to spend more time with his grandchildren and family back in the U.K.

“I cannot thank you enough, the DWTS family. It has been such a wonderful experience for me. I’m looking forward to next week’s finale. I’m sure it’s going to be absolutely brilliant.”

Born in London on April 25, 1944, Goodman started dancing at the age of 19 after a doctor recommended it as therapy for a foot injury. He later turned professional, winning numerous awards, including the British Championships in Blackpool in his late twenties, after which he retired.

After hearing the news, several of Goodman’s fellow judges and co-stars shared their condolences on Monday morning.

“I’ve just woken up to the sad news that my gorgeous colleague and dear friend Len Goodman has passed away,” wrote Strictly judge Craig Revel Horwood. “My heart and love go out to his lovely Sue and family. Len Goody Goodman is what I always called him and “It’s a ten from Len” & “seveeeeern” will live with me forever. RIP Len.”

“Hart [sic] broken my dear friend and partner for 19 years the one and only ballroom LEGEND #LenGoodman passed away,” tweeted Bruno Tonioli. “I will treasure the memories of our adventures @bbcstrictly @officialdwts there will never be anyone like you, you will always be my perfect 10.”

Strictly host Claudia Winkleman added, “I’m so sad about Len. He was one of a kind, a brilliant and kind man. Full of twinkle, warmth and wit. Sending all love to his family and friends.”

Check out more tributes below.