‘It’s a ten from Len will live with me forever’: Len Goodman’s heartbroken Strictly co-stars Claudia Winkleman, Tess Daly and Bruno Tonioli lead tributes to star after his death aged 78
Strictly Come Dancing stars have led the tributes to the show’s former judge Len Goodman following his death at the age of 78.
Len’s co-judge on the show Craig Revel-Horwood tweeted that he’d ‘just woken up to the sad news that my gorgeous colleague and dear friend Len Goodman has passed away.’
‘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’s co-star on both Strictly and Dancing With The Stars Bruno Tonioli shared a photo of the pair hugging as he wrote that his heart was broken.
Tribute: Len Goodman’s Strictly Come Dancing co-star Craig Revel Horwood has led the tributes to the show’s former judge Len Goodman following his death at the age of 78
Friends: ‘Len Goody Goodman is what I always called him and ‘It’s a ten from Len & seveeeeern’will live with me forever. RIP Len,’ Craig tweeted
‘My partner for 19 years’: Len’s co-star on both Strictly and Dancing With The Stars Bruno Tonioli shared a photo of the pair hugging as he wrote that his heart was broken
Colleague: A heartbroken Bruno wrote: ‘I will treasure the memory of our incredible adventures and hundreds of shows we did together’
‘Hart broken my dear friend and partner for 19 years the one and only ballroom legend passed away I will treasure the memory of our incredible adventures and hundreds of shows we did together. they will never be anyone like you we will miss you ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️Bruno.’
Strictly presenter Claudia Winkleman wrote that her colleague was ‘a kind and brilliant man. Full of twinkle, warmth and wit. Sending so much love to his family and friends. We love you Len xx.’
Co-host Tess Daly added: ‘A beautiful man, genuine, warm and humble, who left an impression on everyone he met. I’ll never forget the fun we had on set, his love and passion for dancing and that wonderfully cheeky smile lit up the screen.
‘You were never a 7 for me, Len you were always a 10.’
Anton Du Beke, who was a pro on Strictly since it began in 2004 and became a judge in 2021 shared a lengthy message about his 45-year friendship with the star.
‘Forgive my stream of consciousness but I’ve just heard the devasting news that my dear friend of nearly 45 years, Len Goodman, has sadly passed away,’ Anton wrote on Instagram. ‘It’s incredibly difficult to find the words to encapsulate Len, because he was everything but he was also simply, Len.’
Anton recalled how they first met when he was just 11-years-old and competing in dance shows. ‘I first knew him when I was a young lad and was dancing, he was my dance judge.’
‘Len was different to anyone else in the dancing business – he was a wonderful character, he had a roguishness about him – he had twinkle. He had a way about him that you really wanted him to like you. If Len liked you, it was more important than anyone else liking you.’
‘Twinkle, warmth and wit: Strictly presenter Claudia Winkleman wrote that her colleague was ‘a kind and brilliant man’
Keep dancing: Claudia and Tess both worked with Len on the smash hit BBC show Strictly
Condolences: Co-host Tess Daly added: ‘You were never a 7 for me, Len you were always a 10’
Close: Anton Du Beke, who was a pro on Strictly since it began in 2004 and became a judge in 2021 shared a lengthy message about his 45-year friendship with the star
‘He was one of the very few people that wherever he went, he was just being Len and everyone knows exactly what that means. He had a bit of a magic and that’s what always made him so popular.’
Anton described how their friendship continued beyond Strictly, particularly on the golf course. ‘Spending time with Len was wonderful. We played a lot of golf together – 40 years of playing golf.’
‘He was funny and entertaining but he was also considered and thoughtful and wonderfully interesting. He led a fascinating life. He was clever, articulate, wonderfully well-read and a great lover of poetry.’
‘And of course he had incredible appeal – as his massive success in America goes to show. They begged him to carry on and that kind of appeal is so rare. A national treasure certainly, but more importantly to me he was my friend. I was very lucky to know him. I’m going to miss you, Len.’
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.
Dan Walker, who competed on the BBC competition in 2021 praised Len as an ‘incredible man & an extraordinary talent.’
Dan shared a series of photos on Instagram, writing that he was ‘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. He cared about people and made everyone feel special. All my love to his family.’
Strictly professional dancer turned It Takes Two host Janette Manrara called Len ‘one of the nicest, funniest, and kindest people I ever had the absolute pleasure of working with and calling a friend.’
Friend: Strictly pro Aljaž Škorjanec shared a video of the two rehearsing together, writing: ‘One of the people I respected and feared most in the @bbcstrictly ballroom’
Sad day: Strictly professional dancer turned It Takes Two host Janette Manrara called Len ‘one of the nicest, funniest, and kindest people I ever had the absolute pleasure of working with’
Legend: Dan Walker , who competed on the BBC competition in 2021 praised Len as an ‘incredible man & an extraordinary talent’
Loss: Piers Morgan shared a photo of Len showing him some dance moves as he paid tribute to the ‘quintessential Londoner and top bloke’
‘A beautiful man’: Susanna Reid, who starred on Strictly in 2013, tweeted: ‘Oh this is such an awful shock and so sad. Len was an absolute legend & the definition of a proper gent’
Friends: 2011 Strictly competitor Russell Grant tweeted: ‘The wonderful Len Goodman has left us. He was so kind and lovely to me when I was on Strictly’
Close: Eamonn Holmes wrote alongside a photo of the two sharing a pint that ‘this sort of post is sadly becoming too regular. Len Goodman gone. What an impeccable man.’
‘The world lost a little sparkle today. I will miss his cheeky jokes, his infectious smile, and his forever love and passion of dance. I hope you’re smiling and dancing still amongst the clouds. We will miss you.’
Janette’s husband and Strictly pro Aljaž Škorjanec shared a video of the two rehearsing together, writing: ‘We both loved our ballroom dancing more then most. One of the people I respected and feared most in the @bbcstrictly ballroom, but then we became such amazing friends, always laughing and cracking jokes.’
‘We only spoke a couple of weeks ago, and I wish we could’ve cracked one last joke together. And like your last message to me, Len, you were always my favourite too.’
Piers Morgan shared a photo of Len showing him some dance moves as he paid tribute to the ‘quintessential Londoner and top bloke.’
‘More very sad news from the world of entertainment… RIP Len Goodman, 78 – welder, dancer, judge, and devoted cricket & West Ham fan,’ Piers wrote on Twitter.
‘Always had a laugh with Len, and swapped a few strong opinions. A quintessential Londoner and a top bloke.’
Susanna Reid, who starred on Strictly in 2013, tweeted: ‘Oh this is such an awful shock and so sad. Len was an absolute legend & the definition of a proper gent. He was a beautiful man with a huge sense of humour who had such a mischievous turn of phrase. I’ll never forget ‘all bounce, bum & bongos’. My love to his family.’
Old friends: Former Strictly judge Alesha Dixon called Len ‘a true gentleman and one of a kind’ in response to the news her fellow judge has died
TV family: Strictly’s executive producer Sarah James called him ‘A true gentleman and a people person who could always be relied on to lift the mood with his quick wit or a “Len-ism”‘
Across the pond: Dancing With The Stars professional and judge Julianne Hough posted a heartfelt tribute on Monday
2011 Strictly competitor Russell Grant tweeted: ‘The wonderful Len Goodman has left us. He was so kind and lovely to me when I was on Strictly and we met on other programmes including his own filmed at BBC Glasgow.’
‘The word legend is overused but Len and his ‘SEVEN’ became a catchphrase across UK & USA. A true character.’
Tim Davie, BBC Director-General said in a statement: ‘Len Goodman was a wonderful, warm entertainer who was adored by millions.’
‘He appealed to all ages and felt like a member of everyone’s family. Len was at the very heart of Strictly’s success. He will be hugely missed by the public and his many friends and family.’
Strictly’s executive producer Sarah James said in a statement that ‘Len was more than the head judge on Strictly, he was a beloved colleague and friend who meant so much to so many.’
‘A true gentleman and a people person who could always be relied on to lift the mood with his quick wit or a “Len-ism”.’
Former Strictly judge Alesha Dixon called Len ‘a true gentleman and one of a kind’ in response to the news her fellow judge has died.
In an Instagram Story post, Dixon wrote: ‘He always made me feel so welcome and we laughed a lot! He made my time on Strictly Come Dancing as a contestant & judge a truly wonderful experience. Rest in peace my friend. Sending my love and condolences to his family.’
Much-loved: Strictly pro dancers and celeb competitors flooded social media with tributes on Monday morning
Strictly judge Darcey Bussell said she was ‘very sad’ to hear about the death of her fellow judge. Bussell tweeted: ‘Very sad to hear about the death of dear wonderful gentleman, Len Goodman.
‘My heart goes out to his family & dear Sue. He gave me such support on my time at Strictly. I feel so lucky to have worked with such a professional, funny loveable man. Thank you for the special memories x.’
Eamonn Holmes wrote alongside a photo of the two sharing a pint that ‘this sort of post is sadly becoming too regular. Len Goodman gone.’
‘What an impeccable man in the way he danced the way he was groomed. This is us in an Irish pub in Cushendall in The Glens of Antrim . We laughed all day . Total Gentleman.’
Lorraine Kelly paid tribute as the news of his death broke live on air on Monday.
The presenter, 63, paused her ITV daytime show to deliver the news – as she told how he was a ‘smashing fellow’.
Returning from a break during her programme, Lorraine paused her live show to pay tribute to Len.
A photo of the Strictly star was shown on screen as she said: ‘He was a smashing fellow, a really really good guy so that is very sad news this morning. So many people remember them from Strictly – of course they do!
‘All of out thoughts are with everybody who loves them including all of his friends and family who loved him.’
The news of the star’s death was revealed just as This Morning came on air on Monday with hosts Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield revealing their shock over the news.
Phillip said: ‘We came on air to the saddest news. That came as such a shock.’
Brendan Cole, who left the show in 2018, after 15 years of working on it, was on This Morning coincidentally and said: ‘ Shocking. Sad for the entire nation.’
He revealed that Len had only recently retired in order to spend time with his grandchildren.
‘We came on air to the saddest news’: This Morning’s Phillip and Holly revealed their shock over Len’s death on Monday as he news broke shortly before they came on air
Heartbreaking news: Strictly icon Len passed away after a short battle with bone cancer aged 78. His fans were not aware he was ill
And Brendan said: ‘As a personality he was massive – not only as a judge on Strictly but as a person – with a bite, which I loved.’
Holly said: ‘He trademarked seven… Even when he went to America, whenever anyone got a seven, you couldn’t not think of him.’
Brendan added: ‘He was the ultimate judge. He knew what to say and when to say it. The smile, the energy. Strictly has not been the same without him.’
Holly concluded by saying: ‘Our thoughts and love go to his wife Sue.’
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.
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.’
Short illness: A spokeswoman for Len told MailOnline: ‘I can confirm he died peacefully over the weekend surrounded by his family’
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