Len Goodman, who judged the reality competition series Strictly Come Dancing and Dancing With the Stars for many years, has died after a battle with bone cancer. He was 78.
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Goodman passed away on Saturday at a hospice in England, surrounded by his family, according to the BBC.
“It is with great sadness to announce that Len Goodman has passed away peacefully, aged 78,” Goodman’s agent, Jackie Gill, confirmed in a statement. “A much loved husband, father and grandfather who will be sorely missed by family, friends and all who knew him.”
Goodman, who boasted years of his own ballroom dancing experience, served as head judge on both the U.K.’s Strictly Come Dancing and ABC/Disney+’s Dancing With the Stars since their inception. He appeared on the former series from 2004 through 2016, and on the latter from its premiere in 2005 through 2022, when he stepped down at the end of Season 31 to spend more time with his family.
Over the years, Goodman became known for his (sometimes brutally) honest critiques of contestants’ performances, which he delivered with a keen eye for proper ballroom technique. He was a consistently tough scorer, too, though his “10” paddles were memorably introduced with the catchphrase, “From Len, a 10!”
“Len Goodman will always be an icon in the world of ballroom dance, and we were lucky to have him as part of our Dancing with the Stars family for 31 seasons,” read a tweet from DWTS‘ official account. “He was warm and caring, and always delivered genuine guidance. We are devastated by the news of his passing and our hearts are with his family during this very difficult time.”
“[Heartbroken] my dear friend and partner for 19 years the one and only ballroom LEGEND #LenGoodman passed away,” tweeted Bruno Tonioli, who judged alongside Goodman on both dancing competitions. “I will treasure the memories of our adventures @bbcstrictly @officialdwts there will never be anyone like you. you will always be my perfect 10.”
Carrie Ann Inaba, who has also judged DWTS since its debut, posted a video montage of fond memories with Goodman on Instagram, calling him a “special soul” and “treasured friend.”
“Saying goodbye at the end of last season broke my heart,” Inaba wrote. “But today’s news has shattered it all over again. I can’t believe that you’re gone. You were one of a kind my dear friend. And I will cherish our memories and hold them close, while I join so many others in mourning your loss.”
“I’ve just woken up to the sad news that my gorgeous colleague and dear friend Len Goodman has passed away,” added Craig Revel Horwood, Strictly Come Dancing‘s longest-serving judge. “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.”
Dancing With the Stars aired a sentimental tribute to Goodman upon his retirement during the Season 31 finale; you can revisit it below.
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