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24 April 2023

Strictly Come Dancing judge Len Goodman dies aged 78

24 April 2023

Former Strictly Come Dancing head judge Len Goodman has died aged 78.

The dancer and choreographer, originally from London, had been diagnosed with bone cancer and died on Saturday night.

Goodman became a judge on the BBC show in 2004 and his final appearance was on the 2016 Christmas Day special.

He announced his retirement from TV six months ago and would have celebrated his 79th birthday on Tuesday.

A statement from his agent said: “It is with great sadness to announce that Len Goodman has passed away peacefully, aged 78.

“A much-loved husband, father and grandfather who will be sorely missed by family, friends and all who knew him.”

Goodman began dancing at 19, winning various competitions including the British Championships in Blackpool in his late 20s, after which he retired.

He was replaced as head judge on the BBC show by Shirley Ballas.

Goodman also served as head judge on Dancing With The Stars, the US version of the show, for more than 15 years until announcing his retirement in November last year.

He said at the time that he wanted to “spend more time with my grandchildren and family” back in the UK.

Goodman was also a recipient of the Carl Alan Award in recognition of outstanding contributions to dance.

As well as his successful dancing and television career, he was also the owner of the Goodman Academy, a dance school in Dartford, Kent.

Outside dance, Goodman was a music enthusiast and regularly stood in for the late Paul O’Grady when the entertainer was away from his BBC Radio 2 show.

BBC director-general Tim Davie was among those paying tribute.

He said: “Len Goodman was a wonderful, warm entertainer who was adored by millions. 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.”

Strictly judge Craig Revel Horwood tweeted: “I’ve just woken up to the sad news that my gorgeous colleague and dear friend Len Goodman has passed away.

“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.”

Former BBC presenter Dan Walker, who competed on Strictly in 2021 and was friends with Goodman, said he was “so sad” to hear the news.

He added: “He was an incredible man & an extraordinary talent. Loved making telly with him, being daft with him, playing golf with him & will never forget the little tips he would send every week on Strictly. All my love to his family.”

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