Len Goodman

Former ‘Dancing with the Stars’ judge Len Goodman has died at the age of 78: ‘Millions of fans’

“It is with great sadness that we announce that Len Goodman has passed away peacefully,” his manager, Jackie Gill, said in a statement to USA TODAY on Monday.

According to Gill, Goodman died Saturday night with his wife Sue Barrett and son James from a previous relationship by his bedside.

According to the statement, the former ballroom dancer was a cherished husband, father, and grandfather who would be mourned by all who knew him.

He’d already been diagnosed with bone cancer.

Goodman, who was head judge of “Dancing With the Stars” since its 2005 premiere, announced in November “with a touch of sadness” that the season would be his last on the judge’s panel after 17 years. The show moved to Disney+ in the fall of 2022 after 30 seasons on ABC. 

“It has been a huge pleasure to be a part of such a wonderful show,” he stated at the time. “However, I’ve decided that I’d like to spend more time with my grandchildren and family in the United Kingdom.” I can’t thank you enough, ‘Dancing With The Stars’ family; it’s been an incredible experience for me.” 

Goodman, a former professional ballroom dancer and British champion, was also the top judge on “Strictly Come Dancing” for 12 years, beginning with its debut on the BBC in 2004. The dancing competition, like “DWTS,” pairs celebrities with professional dance partners. It was an unexpected success and has since become one of the network’s most popular series.

For numerous years, he judged both the British and American shows at the same time each autumn, crisscrossing the Atlantic on a weekly basis.

‘Dancing with the Stars’ host Julianne Hough will take over for Tyra Banks.

Goodman’s witty quips, delivered in a Cockney accent, won him fans. “You floated across that floor like butter on a crumpet,” he said after a foxtrot. He described a salsa couple as “like two sizzling sausages on a barbecue.”