Len Goodman, the former Dancing with the Stars judge, has died, his manager confirmed Monday. He was 78.
The London-born ex-professional ballroom dancer died in a hospice in Kent in southern England on Saturday. He had been diagnosed with bone cancer, according to the BBC. “It is with great sadness to announce that Len Goodman has passed away peacefully,” his manager, Jackie Gill, said in a statement released Monday.
“A much loved husband, father, and grandfather who will be sorely missed by family, friends and all who knew him,” Gill added.
After originally joining DWTS for its premiere season in 2005, Goodman announced his retirement from the show in November. He was given a standing ovation as he revealed on air his plans to spend more time with his family at home in the U.K., calling his time on the show “such a wonderful experience.” His death less than six months later comes just days before his 79th birthday.
He had also served as the head judge on the British version of the TV show, Strictly Come Dancing, from 2004 until his final appearance during a 2016 Christmas Day special.
Before his glittering TV career, Goodman started dancing at the age of 19 after a doctor recommended he try ballroom as a treatment for a foot injury. He danced professionally for less than a decade—scooping a British Championships win along the way—before opening his own dancing school and judging in competitions.
“I’ve just woken up to the sad news that my gorgeous colleague and dear friend Len Goodman has passed away,” Goodman’s fellow Strictly Come Dancing judge Craig Revel Horwood tweeted Monday. “My heart and love go out to his lovely [wife] 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.”
“Len Goodman was a wonderful, warm entertainer who was adored by millions,” BBC Director General Tim Davie said in tribute. “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.”