Len Goodman, former ‘Dancing with the Stars’ judge, dies at 78

(CNN) former “Dancing with the stars“Judge Len Goodman He died at the age of 78.

The English dance specialist, who competed in ballroom competition from 2005 until last year, died on Saturday at a hospice in Kent, southern England, following a battle with bone cancer, her manager confirmed.

“He was surrounded by his family,” Goodman’s manager Jackie Gill told CNN in a statement Monday.

Len Goodman on the “Dancing With the Stars” judging panel with Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli

Goodman was born in London in 1944. According to her website, she started dancing at the age of 19 and was a professional dancer before breaking into television.

Goodman has served as the head judge on the British version of DWTS — the BBC dance series Strictly Come Dancing — since its inception in 2004. Following his departure, Shirley Pallas stepped into the role.

BBC Director General Tim Davey remembered Goodman as “a brilliant, endearing entertainer admired by millions”.

Davy added: “He appealed to people of all ages and made everyone feel like a member of the family. Len was at the heart of Strictly’s success. He will be greatly missed by the public and his many friends and family.”

On Twitter, fellow “Dancing with the Stars” judge Bruno Tonioli shared a heartwarming photo of himself and Goodman embracing, writing: “Heart broke my dear friend and partner of 19 years, the one and only ballroom legend #LenGoodman has passed away. Memories of our adventures @bbcstrictly @officialdwts No one like you You won’t be, you’ll always be a perfect 10 for me.”

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Away from her television career, Goodman ran the Goodman Dance Academy, a dance school in Kent. He also wrote several books, including his 2009 autobiography “Better Late Than Never: From Barrow Boy to Ballroom,” “Dancing Around Britain” and “Lost London.”

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