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Beloved ‘Dancing With the Stars’ judge Len Goodman dies at 78

Goodman was one of the most familiar faces of the popular dancing competition for nearly two decades.
/ Source: TODAY

Len Goodman, a judge who appeared on “Dancing With the Stars” since the inception of the show, has died, his manager said April 24. He was 78.

“It is with great sadness to announce that Len Goodman has passed away peacefully, aged 78,” 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 had bone cancer and died in hospice on April 22 in England, according to Variety.

Goodman was known for telling it like it is and not sugarcoating his critiques. He had served as head judge on Britain’s “Strictly Come Dancing” on the BBC from 2004 through 2016. American audiences knew him as one of the stalwarts on “Dancing With the Stars” from its premiere in 2005 until 2022. He had said last November during the show’s 31st season that it would be his last.

“It has been a huge pleasure to be part of such a wonderful show,” he said, while noting he wanted to spend more time with his family in Britain.

Carrie Ann Inaba, Lel Goodman, and Bruno Tonioli on season 28 of "Dancing With the Stars."
Len Goodman, center, spent many seasons working with fellow judges Carrie Ann Inaba, left, and Bruno Tonioli, right, on "Dancing With the Stars."Eric McCandless / ABC via Getty Images

“I cannot thank you enough, the ‘Dancing With the Stars’ family. It’s been such a wonderful experience for me.”

Host Tyra Banks called him “a living legend” after he made the announcement.

“You’ve inspired generations of dancers around the entire globe through your passion, through your expertise and through your laser-focused eye and they are going to carry on that commitment of excellence forever,” she added.

During the show’s finale, Goodman marveled at how he became a part of the series.

“I got the call to be a judge three days before the first show. Little Len! Who am I? I’m just a dance teacher from Dartford,” he said.

“Suddenly, I’m thrust into Hollywood ... I got the reputation as being the tough judge, because what I see is what I say.”