Len Goodman, a former Dancing With The Stars judge and ballroom dancer, has died at age 78. His agent, Jackie Gill, confirmed on Monday that following a battle with bone cancer, the English dance expert “passed away peacefully” on Saturday in Kent, England, where “he was surrounded by his family.”

Born in Bethnal Green, London, on April 25, 1944, Goodman initially pursued a career in soccer before he found a love for dancing at age 19 after a doctor recommended it for a foot injury he had endured. Goodman quickly became a professional dancer and a four-time British dancing champion before embarking on a career in television.


The dance expert is best known for appearing as a head judge on BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing for 12 years since its inception in 2004. The show, which pairs celebrities with professional dancers, quickly became one of BBC’s most popular shows. Goodman went on to head judge the U.S. version of the show, ABC’s Dancing with the Stars, for 15 years until his retirement last November. Goodman judged both the British and American versions of the show for several years and is credited for reviving interest in ballroom dancing on both sides of the Atlantic.  


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Friends and fans have taken to social media to share their condolences and how saddened they are by the news of Goodman’s death. Fellow dance judge, Bruno Tonioli, took to Twitter, writing “there will never be anyone like you you will always be my perfect 10.”

Dancing with the Stars judge Carrie Ann Inaba took to Instagram to share a montage of pictures and videos of her and Goodman. In an emotional tribute to the late dancer, Inaba called Goodman “A Dancer. A teacher. A refined gentleman. A wonderful storyteller. A special soul. A mentor. A family man. And… A treasured friend.”

“Saying goodbye at the end of last season broke my heart. 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. Thank you for all that you shared with us. Your humor, your wisdom, your wit and your truth.”

“Until we meet again…✨Rest In Peace Len 🤍” Inaba wrote, concluding her sweet Instagram caption.

The British Prime Minister and Royal Family also offered their condolences on Monday.

According to a Buckingham Palace spokesperson, King Charles’ wife, Camilla, who was reportedly a big fan of Strictly Come Dancing and had danced with Goodman in 2019, was “saddened to hear the news.”

According to a representative, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said Goodman was “a great entertainer, a popular face on TV screens up and down the country,” and that “he will be missed by many and our condolences go to his friends and family.”

Apart from his acclaimed television career, Goodman ran a dancing school, the Goodman Dance Academy in Kent, was a recipient of the Carl Alan Award and wrote several books including his 2009 memoir Better Late Than Never: From Barrow Boy to Ballroom.

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