Former “Dancing With the Stars” judge Len Goodman has died at age 78.
The English dance expert, who featured in the ballroom competition from 2005 until last year, died on Saturday in a hospice in Kent, southern England, following a battle with bone cancer, his manager confirmed.
“He was surrounded by his family,” Goodman’s manager, Jackie Gill, told CNN in a statement on Monday.
Goodman was born in London in 1944. According to his website, he started dancing at age 19 and was a professional dancer before venturing into TV.
Goodman served as head judge on BBC dance series “Strictly Come Dancing” – the British version of DWTS – from its inception in 2004, and made his final appearance on the 2016 Christmas Day special. Shirley Ballas stepped into the role following his departure.
BBC director-general Tim Davie led the tributes, remembering Goodman as a “wonderful, warm entertainer who was adored by millions.”
Davie added: “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.”
On Twitter, fellow “Dancing With The Stars” judge Bruno Tonioli shared a touching image of himself and Goodman embracing, writing: “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.”
Away from his TV career, Goodman ran a dancing school, the Goodman Dance Academy in Kent. He also wrote several books, including his 2009 autobiography “Better Late Than Never: From Barrow Boy to Ballroom,” “Dancing Around Britain” and “Lost London.”