Len Goodman beamed and hugged his Strictly and Dancing With The Stars fellow judge Bruno Tonioli months before his death from bone cancer at age 78.
The dancer posed alongside Bruno in the photo, which 67-year-old Bruno shared in November, shortly after Len confirmed his retirement from TV live on Dancing With The Stars, revealing his plans to spend more time with his grandchildren.
In a nod to news of his career ending, Bruno wrote at the time: ‘Celebrating the one and only ballroom legend Len Goodman, you are the best my friend, best partner I could have wished for @dancingwiththestars…
‘What an incredible adventure we enjoyed our retirement. I always like Bruno.’
Len had been in a hospice in Tunbridge Wells in Kent after a short illness and he died on Saturday night – just six months after retiring. He would have turned 79 on Tuesday.
Sweet: Len Goodman was seen beaming and hugging his Strictly and Dancing With The Stars fellow judge Bruno Tonioli, months before his death from bone cancer at age 78
‘We will miss you’: In November, Len confirmed on Dancing With The Stars that the performance would be his last before retiring
Sweet: Bruno shared a heartwarming message for his friend and colleague in November
Len’s spokeswoman told MailOnline: “I can confirm he passed away 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 everyone who knew him’.
In November, Len said his final goodbye to Dancing With The Stars as he left the show after 17 years. He joined the series as a judge during its very first season in 2005 and decided to leave to spend more time with his family in the UK.
Len received his own Mirrorball trophy at the season 31 grand finale, along with a montage of some of his best bits from the show.
The series played clips of the star from his first season along with a hilarious 2009 clip of him going shirtless while wearing a large gold chain.
Len said, ‘It’s been so much fun for me to be a part of Dancing with the Stars. It really has. I had such a great time’
Back in the day: Len was a judge on the first season of Dancing With The Stars in 2005 alongside Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno
Throwback: During the season 31 finale, the show played several throwback clips of Len, including a hilarious part of him shirtless in 2009
Emotional: Len was embraced by fellow judge Derek Hough as the crowd applauded him after announcing his retirement
Honor: Co-host Alfonso Ribeiro gave the judges his own Mirrorball trophy as the cast and crew bid him farewell
Snaps were also shown of Len teaching dance lessons in 1973 while fellow judge Derek Hough gave him a hug.
Following the announcement of his death on Monday, another Strictly star – Craig Revel Horwood – paid tribute, describing Len as a “wonderful colleague and dear friend” in response to the former Strictly judge’s death.
He tweeted: “Just woke up to the sad news that my wonderful colleague and dear friend Len Goodman passed away…
My heart and love go out to his sweet Sue and family. Len Goody Goodman is what I always called him and ‘It’s a ten from Len & seveeeeern’ will stay with me forever. REST IN PEACE’.
Born in Bethnal Green, Len Goodman, who grew up in Blackfen, Bexley, was a professional dancer and teacher who became a national treasure after auditioning for Strictly Come Dancing at the age of 60 – when most people are about to to retire.
Len was the head judge of Strictly from its launch in 2004, where he was extremely popular with fans for his knowledge, humor and markings, especially his catchphrase ‘seven’. He was replaced as the main judge on the show by Shirley Ballas in 2016.
In addition to Strictly, he also appeared on the US version of the show, Dancing With the Stars from 2005 to November 2022, where he was last seen on TV, stating that he was retiring to spend more time with his wife Sue and his grandchildren. .
Way back when: Bruno (left) and Len (second right) are pictured together on the strict judging panel alongside Arlene Phillips and Craig Revel Horwood
Way back when: Len, age 25, danced with Cherry Kingston in 1970
In December, Len revealed how he’s been spending his Saturday nights since retiring – screaming at the TV while watching Strictly and especially Craig Revel Horwood – or ‘bl**dy Craig’ as Len called him
He told the Mail: ‘My dad had the right idea too. He loved gardening and suffered a stroke while in the yard. He was 79, so if I follow my father’s path, it will be next year.’
He seems amazingly cheerful about this. He says maybe I could write his obituary. Blimey, Len, not yet. What would I write anyway?
“Write it down: ‘He was a lucky dance teacher from Dartford,’ he says. “Because that’s pretty much the truth.”
Tribute: Len Goodman’s Strictly Come Dancing co-star Craig Revel Horwood has led the tribute to the show’s former judge, Len Goodman, following his death at age 78
Loss: Piers Morgan shared a photo of Len showing off some dance moves while paying tribute to the “quintessential Londoner and top bloke”
His death is mourned by leading figures in showbiz after a stellar six-decade career.
BBC Director General Tim Davie paid tribute to Len Goodman after his death at the age of 78. He said, “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 heart of Strictly’s success. He will be greatly missed by the public and his many friends and family.”
Former BBC presenter Dan Walker, who competed on Strictly Come Dancing in 2021 and was friends with Len Goodman, also paid tribute. He tweeted: “So sad to hear about Len Goodman’s death…
“He was an incredible man and an extraordinary talent. Loved making television with him, being silly with him, playing golf with him and will never forget the little tips he would send every week on Strictly. All my love to his family.’
The King with Charles Dance and Len Goodman (right) in 2018
Len became a household name for a generation of fans after joining Strictly, but he was also a celebrated dancer as a younger man