Len Goodman, a former “Dancing With the Stars” judge, went away at the age of 78.
The English dance pro who participated in the ballroom competition from 2005 until last year died on Saturday at a hospice in Kent, southern England, according to his manager.
He had battled bone cancer.
Goodman’s agent, Jackie Gill, told CNN on Monday that his client was “surrounded by his family.”
Goodman was born in London in 1944. According to his website, he started dancing at the age of 19 and worked as a professional dancer before switching to television.
Goodman, who has served as the chief judge of the BBC’s dance competition “Strictly Come Dancing” from its inception in 2004, made his final appearance in the 2016 Christmas Day special. Shirley Ballas took over the duties of the position after he left.
Director-general of the BBC Tim Davie presided over the memorial service and praised Goodman as a “wonderful, warm entertainer adored by millions.”
He had universal appeal and made people feel like he belonged in their families, according to Davie. Len was the inspiration behind the success of Strictly. He will be sorely missed by the public as well as his innumerable friends and family.
Bruno Tonioli, a different “Dancing With The Stars” judge, shared a touching picture of him and Goodman hugging on Twitter. He said in a statement, “Hart broke my dear friend and partner for 19 years the only ballroom LEGEND #LenGoodman passed away I will treasure the memories of our adventures @bbcstrictly @officialdwts there will never be anyone like you you will always be my perfect 10.”
Goodman oversaw the Kent-based Goodman Dance Academy in addition to his job in television. In addition, he wrote other publications, such as “Dancing Around Britain,” “Lost London,” and his autobiography “Better Late Than Never: From Barrow Boy to Ballroom,” which was released in 2009.