Strictly star Len Goodman dies in a hospice after a short illness

Len Goodman reveals he’s leaving Dancing with the Stars

Len Goodman, who rose to prominence on Strictly Come Dancing, has died at the age of 78.

He was a former head judge on Strictly Come Dancing from its launch in 2004 until 2016 and Len was hugely popular with fans for his knowledge and wry humour.

A statement from his manager, Jackie Gill, on Monday 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.”

As well as Strictly, he also appeared on the US version of the show, Dancing With the Stars from 2005 until 2022.

Len died on Saturday night after a battle with bone cancer – just six months into his retirement and he would have been 79 tomorrow.

His death will be mourned by leading figures in showbiz, after a longstanding career spanning six decades.

Tributes have poured in for the former head judge following the sad news.

Channel 5 News presenter Dan Walker led the tributes to the beloved dancing judge which he accompanied with a series of pictures.

He penned: “So sad to hear about the death of Len Goodman. 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.”

Born in London, on 25 April 1944, he began his working life as an apprentice welder at Harland and Wolff in Woolwich, and wanted to be a footballer.

He only started dancing aged 20, after his doctor recommended it to help him recover from a foot injury.

He turned professional and enjoyed a successful competitive dancing career, which included winning Dual of the Giants, British Rising Stars, The British Exhibition Championships (four times) and the World Exhibition Championships in the early 1970s.

After retiring he founded the Goodman Dance Academy in Kent. He has been an examiner for the National Association of Teachers of Dance, a Fellow of the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dance, and an adjudicator for the World Dance Council.

After retiring he told the Mail: “My dad had the right idea, too. He loved gardening and he had a stroke while he was out in the garden. He was 79 so if I go the way of my dad, that’ll be next year.”

He seems astonishingly chipper about this. He says maybe I could write his obituary. Blimey, Len, not yet. What would I write anyway?

“Just write: ‘He was a dance teacher from Dartford who got lucky’,’ he says. ‘Because that’s just about the truth of it’.”

Last November he announced on Dancing With The Stars that he would be stepping down at the end of that series, telling viewers: “This will be my last season judging Dancing With the Stars.

“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.”

He was as diagnosed with prostate cancer in March 2009, which was treated with surgery at a London hospital.

In September 2021 it was reported that he had undergone surgery the previous year for a small facial melanoma.

Previously Len had married his dancing partner, Cherry Kingston, but they were later divorced.

He then had a long-term relationship with a woman named Lesley and they had a son, James.

In early 2000, he met his now-wife Sue, a dance teacher, and married her 10 years later in 2012 in a secret ceremony.

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