Len Goodman has died aged 78 from bone cancer, MailOnline can reveal.
The much-loved Strictly Come Dancing judge had been in a hospice in Tunbridge Wells in Kent following a short illness.
He passed away on Saturday night – just six months into his retirement. He would have been 79 tomorrow.
A spokeswoman for Len told MailOnline: ‘I can confirm he died peacefully over the weekend surrounded by his family’, adding that he was ‘a much loved husband, father and grandfather who will be sorely missed by family, friends and all who knew him’.
The former head judge of Strictly Come Dancing from its launch in 2004 until 2016, Len was hugely popular with fans for his knowledge and wry humour. He was a professional dancer and teacher who became a national treasure after auditioning for Strictly aged 60 – when most people are looking to retire.
As well as Strictly, he also appeared on the US version of the show, Dancing With the Stars from 2005 until November 2022, where he was last seen on TV, declaring he was retiring to spend more time with his wife Sue, and his grandchildren.
In December Len revealed how he spends his Saturday nights since retiring – shouting at the TV while watching Strictly and especially Craig Revel Horwood — or ‘bl**dy Craig’ as Len called him.
Strictly Come Dancing and Dancing with the Stars head judge Len Goodman, pictured with his wife Sue Barrett, has died aged 78
Len’s final appearance on Dancing with the Stars in the US last November
Although Len loved giving a ten on Strictly, millions around the country knew him best for the way he delivered a seven to dancers during his 12 years on the show
Len retired last year and said he wanted to spend more time with his wife Sue, and his grandchildren. Pictured: Len with his grandson, Jack
It is believed Len died in a hospice in Tunbridge Wells after a short illness.
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”.’
His death is being mourned by leading figures in showbiz, after a stellar career spanning six decades.
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.
His unrivalled knowledge of Latin and Ballroom, as well as his fondness for well-turned metaphors, made him a favourite with millions of Strictly fans in later years, where his trademark cry of ‘Seven!’ points is heard long after he left the programme.
Len made numerous TV and radio appearances in the UK and was also been a very successful presenter of several shows, as well as starring in the Strictly Live Tour for many years.
He produced many DVDs for the dance teaching industry as well as an instructional DVD for the general public called ‘Dance With Len Goodman’
He published his autobiography ‘Better Late Than Never: From Barrow Boy to Ballroom’ in 2009, which was followed up by two other books, ‘Len’s Lost London’ and ‘Dancing Around Britain’.
Last November he announced on Dancing With The Stars that he would be hanging up his scoring paddle for the last time 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,’ Goodman added.’
Len Goodman, aged 25, dancing with Cherry Kingston in 1970
His final words on TV were: ‘He was a dance teacher from Dartford who got lucky. Because that’s just about the truth of it’
He said recently that he laughs every time he thinks of how he auditioned for Strictly on his 60th birthday, a time when most people would be thinking of retirement
Len Goodman has only been retired for a matter of weeks, but he’s discovered a new hobby — shouting at the television while Strictly is on
Len became a household name to a generation of fans after joining Strictly – but was also a celebrated dancer as a younger man
Goodman was 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.
He told the Mail last year that it still tickled him that he auditioned for Strictly on his 60th birthday, a time when most people would be thinking of retirement. He still had a mortgage and his dance school, he tells me, was making only a small profit.
Then the great glitterball appeared from the sky, ‘and it changed my life’.
‘I remember coming home to [my wife] Sue saying: ‘They want to pay me £1,000 an episode and they will pick me up in a car, and take me home again.’
For 12 years, he ruled the helm of Strictly, then he was lured to the glossier, US version, Dancing With The Stars. It was an unlikely export, but he soon won them over.
‘Some of the things I came out with did confuse them [The Americans] a bit. I remember saying: ‘Give it some welly’, and they said ‘Willy? What’s a willy?’ But someone said to me, early doors: ‘Be yourself, and be honest’ and I’ve stuck to that, as much as you can.’
Source : https://www.dailymail.co.uk/usshowbiz/article-12006659/Len-Goodman-dies-aged-78-Strictly-star-passed-away-peacefully-hospice.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ito=1490&ns_campaign=1490&rand=1270