Strictly Come Dancing star Len Goodman has died aged 78

Len Goodman appeared as a judge on popular dance shows Strictly Come Dancing and Dancing with the Stars.

Len Goodman smiling next to a backdrop that reads Strictly Come Dancing
(Image credit: Future/Getty)

Strictly Come Dancing and Dancing with the Stars star Len Goodman has died aged 78 from bone cancer.

The TV judge, became a household name after appearing on BBC's hit dance show Strictly Come Dancing between 2004 and 2016. He also starred on the US version of the show Dancing with the Stars, appearing as an original judge from 2005, before his departure in 2022.

"I can confirm he died peacefully over the weekend surrounded by his family," a spokeswoman for Len told MailOnline. It is understood that Len had been diagnosed with bone cancer and passed away at a hospice facility in Tunbridge Wells, Kent. 

He leaves behind his wife, dance teacher Sue Barrett, who he married in 2012. Plus son James William Goodman, who he shares with an ex-partner called Lesley.

Goodman - known for his ballroom knowledge and dry wit - was a popular figure on the BBC entertainment show. Fans young and old will remember his trademark '7' catchphrase whilst handing out scores after contestants had danced.

Strictly's original head judge, Len appeared on the very first episode of the show which debuted on May 15, 2004. He was joined by fellow judges Arlene Phillips, Bruno Tonioli and Craig Revel-Horwood - with the latter still a judge to this day.

Goodman announced he was to quit the show in 2016, with his final appearance during the Strictly Christmas Special later that year. Latin dance champion Shirley Ballas was confirmed as Len's replacement in May 2017.

Strictly contestants were quick to pay tribute to Len Goodman online. Professional dancer Giovanni Pernace, shared a video of the late star on his Instagram stories alongside the caption 'RIP Legend'.

Channel 5 news presenter Dan Walker - who appeared on Strictly Come Dancing in 2021 - also paid tribute to the show's former judge. "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."

BBC Director-General Tim Davie also shared a statement in wake of Len's passing. 

"Len was at the very heart of Strictly's success," he said. "He will be hugely missed by the public and his many friends and family."

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Emily Stedman
Features Editor

Emily Stedman is the former Features Editor for GoodTo covering all things TV, entertainment, royal, lifestyle, health and wellbeing. Boasting an encyclopaedic knowledge on all things TV, celebrity and royals, career highlights include working at HELLO! Magazine and as a royal researcher to Diana biographer Andrew Morton on his book Meghan: A Hollywood Princess. In her spare time, Emily can be found eating her way around London, swimming at her local Lido or curled up on the sofa binging the next best Netflix show.