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TV judge Len Goodman dies aged 78

TV judge Len Goodman dies aged 78
Len Goodman / © Cover Media

Dancing with the Stars and Strictly Come Dancing judge Len Goodman has died at the age of 78.

The former ballroom dancer and TV personality passed away on Saturday at a hospice in Tunbridge Wells in Kent, England surrounded by his family. He had been suffering from bone cancer.

"It is with great sadness to announce that Len Goodman has passed away peacefully, aged 78," Goodman's agent, Jackie Gill, said in a statement. "A much loved husband, father and grandfather who will be sorely missed by family, friends and all who knew him."

Goodman became a household name in his native England in 2004 when he appeared as the head judge on the first series of Strictly Come Dancing. He remained on the judging panel until his departure in 2016.

He also served as the head judge on the U.S. version of the celebrity dancing competition, Dancing with the Stars, from its inception in 2005 until last year.

"I’ve been on the show since it started in 2005, and it has been a huge pleasure to be a part of such a wonderful show but I’ve decided I want to spend more time with my grandchildren and family back in Britain," Goodman explained in November.

Goodman started dancing at 19 and turned professional in his early 20s. He retired in his late 20s after winning the British Championships. In addition to his TV work, he also owned the Goodman Dance Academy in Kent.

Paying tribute to the popular judge, Tim Davie, BBC director general, 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."

Goodman is survived by his wife Sue and his son James.

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