The Tragic Death Of Dancing With The Stars Judge Len Goodman

Beloved "Strictly Come Dancing" and "Dancing with the Stars" judge Len Goodman has died. "It is with great sadness to announce that Len Goodman has passed away peacefully, aged 78," his manager Jackie Gill announced in a statement to BBC. "A much loved husband, father, and grandfather who will be sorely missed by family, friends, and all who knew him." According to the outlet Goodman died at a hospice on April 22, having been previously diagnosed with bone cancer.

Following news of Goodman's tragic death, fans, and colleagues have come out on social media, paying tribute to the "Dancing With The Stars" judge. In a heartwarming Instagram post, "Strictly Come Dancing" judge Craig Revel Horwood described Goodman as a colleague and a friend. "My heart and love go out to his lovely wife Sue and family. Len 'goody' Goodman is what I called him and 'Its a ten from Len and seveeeeern' will live with me forever. Rest in peace Len," Horwood wrote. In her tribute, BBC presenter Tess Daly called Goodman "a beautiful man, genuine, warm and humble, who left an impression on everyone he met ... You were never a 7 for me, Len you were always a 10."

Goodman is survived by his longtime partner Sue Barrett whom he married in 2012. He also leaves behind son James William Goodman, from a previous relationship.

Len Goodman's dancing career was inspired by a doctor

Though he left a lasting legacy in the entertainment industry, Len Goodman did not start out with a passion for dance. When he was 19, Goodman suffered a foot injury that healed a little too slowly. To hasten his healing process, doctors recommended he take up ballroom dancing classes. Though he was initially resistant to the idea, Goodman soon had a change of heart. "I really didn't want to go, I kicked up a right fuss. But once I'd been for a couple of weeks, I really loved it," he explained in a 2006 interview with the Guardian. Goodman would later make a career of the surprise hobby, winning several competitions including the British Championships. 

It was not, however, until 2004 when Goodman assumed his role as head judge on BBC's "Strictly Come Dancing" that he entered the limelight beyond the world of dance. After twelve years, the veteran dance coach announced he was leaving the show — a move he once admitted came with some hesitation. "There's always a twang [of regret]," he told Scottish journalist Lorraine Kelly during a 2017 appearance on her eponymous talk show.

Similarly, Goodman served as head judge on "Dancing with the Stars" for 17 years before announcing his retirement in 2022. "I've been with the show since it started in 2005, and it has been a huge pleasure to be a part of such a wonderful show," he said at the time. "But I've decided I'd like to spend more time with my grandchildren and family back in Britain."

Len Goodman previously made a prophecy of doom

Len Goodman's death came as a shock to fans, but the veteran dance coach might just have seen it coming. In a resurfaced December 2022 interview with the Daily Mail, Goodman explained that he expected to die in 2023 at 79 — the same age his late father died. "My dad had the right idea. 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."

Though he never publicly opened up about his bone cancer diagnosis, this was not Goodman's first experience with the deadly disease. In July 2009, Goodman revealed he underwent surgery following a prostate cancer diagnosis three months prior. At the time of his diagnosis, the veteran dance coach was in the middle of filming "Strictly Come Dancing," leading him to stall treatment for a while. "It takes a few weeks to get everything set up for the operation anyway, so I went ahead and did the show," he divulged to the Daily Mail

In 2021, Goodman once again revealed that he had been diagnosed with facial melanoma the previous year, and had undergone surgery to have it removed. "It was good that it was what it was because it was like a little early warning, which was good because I would have probably carried on in my own sweet way and it could have become something far worse," he told Good Morning Britain (via Express).