Ex Dancing With The Stars and Strictly judge Len Goodman dies aged 78

Beloved TV star Len Goodman's family revealed the sad news of his death as tributes flood in from celebrity colleagues and former contestants

Len Goodman seen at the ITV Studios on September 10, 2018 in London, England.
(Image credit: HGL/GC Images/Getty Images)

Ex Dancing With The Stars and Strictly Come Dancing judge Len Goodman has died aged 78. The sad news of the former ballroom dancing professional, coach, and TV star's passing was announced by his manager.

Len died from bone cancer on Saturday April 22, 2023, at a hospice in Tunbridge Wells in Kent. He died surrounded by his beloved family. 

A statement  shared with the Mail Online on behalf of Len's family read, "I can confirm he died peacefully over the weekend surrounded by his family." They added that the late star was, "a much-loved husband, father, and grandfather who will be sorely missed by family, friends, and all who knew him."

Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall dances with Len Goodman during a dance performances organized by the British Dance Council in association with The Royal Osteoporosis Society at Carisbrooke Hall on September 05, 2019 in London, England. HRH is the Patron-in-Chief of the Victory Services Association and President of The Royal Osteoporosis Society.

(Image credit: Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

Len was one of the first judges on Strictly Come Dancing, working on the show from 2004 to 2016. He was also one of the first judges on the panel of Dancing With The Stars, which he starred on from 2005 until as recently as 2022.

The popular judge became known for his sense of humor and for his rather unforgettable way of saying 'seven' whenever he was awarding points to contestants on the dancing shows. Following a decades-long career in dance, which began when he was aged 19, the London-born star retired from TV in 2022.

He won multiple competitions and he quit the dancefloor in his late 20s - after his victory at the illustrious British Championships in Blackpool. However, in some ways, this was merely the beginning of his career in the dance world. 

Len Goodman, BBC Strictly Come Dancing presenter is pictured at The London Transport Museum in Covent Garden, London, Picture taken 7th March 2016.

(Image credit: Martin Spaven/Mirrorpix/Getty Images)

As well as his TV career, which began later in life, he also founded the Goodman Academy dance school in Dartford, Kent, and won the Carl Alan award - which recognized his outstanding contributions to dance. He also wrote books including his memoir, Better Late Than Never: From Barrow Boy to Ballroom.

Speaking to the Mail Online last year, following his retirement, he said, "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 even discussed what he'd like his obituary to include, saying, "Just write, 'he was a dance teacher from Dartford who got lucky. Because that's just about the truth of it.'"

One of his former colleagues and one of the Strictly judges 2022, Craig Revel Horwood tweeted, "I’ve just woken up to the sad news that my gorgeous colleague and dear friend Len Goodman has passed away." He added, "My heart and love go out to his lovely Sue and family. Len Goody Goodman is what I always called him and “It’s a ten from Len & seveeeeern” will live with me forever. RIP Len."

Len Goodman attends the red carpet launch for "Strictly Come Dancing" at Elstree Studios on September 3, 2013 in Borehamwood, England.

(Image credit: Karwai Tang/WireImage/Getty Images)

Former Strictly contestant Dan Walker also tweeted, "So sad to hear about the death of Len Goodman. He was an incredible man & an extraordinary talent. Loved making telly with him, being daft with him, playing golf with him & will never forget the little tips he would send every week on Strictly. All my love to his family."

Aoife Hanna
Junior News Editor

Aoife is an Irish journalist and writer with a background in creative writing, comedy, and TV production.

Formerly woman&home's junior news editor and a contributing writer at Bustle, her words can be found in the Metro, Huffpost, Delicious, Imperica and EVOKE.

Her poetry features in the Queer Life, Queer Love anthology.

Outside of work you might bump into her at a garden center, charity shop, yoga studio, lifting heavy weights, or (most likely) supping/eating some sort of delicious drink/meal.