A former “Dancing With the Stars” judge, Len Goodman, has passed away at 78.
After a battle with bone cancer, the English dancing pro who competed in the ballroom competition from 2005 until last year passed away on Saturday in a hospice in Kent, southern England, according to his manager.
Goodman’s manager, Jackie Gill, said of his client, “He was surrounded by his family,” in a statement to CNN on Monday.
In 1944, Goodman was born in London. His website states that he began dancing at the age of 19 and was a professional dancer before making the transition to television.
Goodman made his farewell appearance on the 2016 Christmas Day special after serving as head judge of the BBC dancing competition “Strictly Come Dancing” since its start in 2004. After he left, Shirley Ballas assumed responsibility for the position.
The memorial service was presided over by BBC director-general Tim Davie, who remembered Goodman as a “wonderful, warm entertainer adored by millions.”
“He appealed to all ages and felt like a member of everyone’s family,” Davie continued. Len was the driving force behind Strictly’s success. The general public and his countless friends and family will greatly miss him.
Another “Dancing With The Stars” judge, Bruno Tonioli, posted a heartbreaking photo of himself and Goodman hugging on Twitter. He wrote, “Hart broke my dear friend and partner for 19 years the only ballroom LEGEND #LenGoodman passed away I will treasure the memories of our adventures @bbcstrictly @officialdwts there will never be anyone like you you will always be my perfect 10.”
Outside of his work in television, Goodman was the director of the Kent-based Goodman Dance Academy. Additionally, he published many books, including his 2009 autobiography “Better Late Than Never: From Barrow Boy to Ballroom,” as well as “Dancing Around Britain” and “Lost London.”