Len Goodman, a former “Dancing With the Stars” judge, has away at the age of 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.
On the “Dancing With the Stars” judging panel with Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli is Len Goodman.Disney General Entertainment Content/Getty Images, Adam Taylor
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.
From the show’s start in 2004 until his final appearance on the Christmas Day 2016 special, Goodman served as the show’s top judge on the British version of DWTS, “Strictly Come Dancing” on the BBC. 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 who was 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. Both the general public and his countless friends and family will greatly miss him.
Bruno Tonioli, another “Dancing With The Stars” judge, posted a heartbreaking photo of himself and Goodman hugging on Twitter. He wrote, “Hart broken my dear friend and partner for 19 years the one and 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 several books, including his 2009 autobiography “Better Late Than Never: From Barrow Boy to Ballroom,” as well as “Dancing Around Britain” and “Lost London.”