Jeannie Mai Forced To Leave ‘Dancing With the Stars’ With Life-Threatening Illness
Jeannie Mai was forced to leave Dancing With the Stars after she was hospitalized with a potentially life threatening inflammatory disease that can block airflow to the lungs.
“My doctors discovered a health concern with my throat which requires immediate attention and surgery,” she said to Good Morning America in a statement. “I am heartbroken that my DWTS journey has to end here. I have pushed myself to new limits physically and mentally, and I am so proud of how far we’ve come.”
Mai was diagnosed with epiglottitis, a rare disease which occurs when the flap that covers the windpipe (the epiglottis) is inflamed and causes difficulties in breathing and swallowing, according to Harvard Medical School. Symptoms often include fever, especially in the case of an infection, as well as drooling, rapid breathing and changes to the voice.
Mai competed with dancer Brandon Armstrong who told fans, “Guys, we are devastated by the news that we’re going to have to cut this season short, but Jeannie’s health does come first. Thank you to all the fans that have helped get us this far and we are praying for a speedy recovery from Jeannie.”
Last week, Armstorng and Mai narrowly escaped elimination from the show after performing a Silence of the Lambs-themed ballroom routine. This week’s show was scheduled to feature a double elimination, however with Mai and Armstrong’s departure, only one other couple will be sent home.
“Jeannie has inspired us, along with millions of fans, with her energy and dedication. We wish her a full and speedy recovery,” Dancing With the Stars said in a statement. “Since Jeannie had to withdraw from the competition, tonight’s show will feature the eight remaining couples and a single elimination.”
Mai is best known for her work as a TV host and fashion expert, working on the series How Do I Look? and the talk show The Real.