“It is with great sadness to announce that Len Goodman has passed away peacefully, aged 78. A much-loved husband, father, and grandfather who will be sorely missed by family, friends, and all who knew him.”
Goodman, a former professional dancer and dance teacher, had been one of the original judges on Dancing With the Stars since its debut in 2005. He starred in the series for 20 seasons before taking a break during Season 21. He then returned for Seasons 22 through 28.
“Doing a live show, you have to be at the top of your game and quick to react. And as one gets older, then things start to get more challenging,” he told PEOPLE Magazine at the time. “I haven’t fallen asleep or started dribbling yet on the show, so I thought it’s best to go before I start to do so!”
Goodman had been the centerpiece of the judges’ panel on Dancing With the Stars since 2005. But long before he wielded such judicial power on the sidelines of Disney’s most famous dance floor, he too spent years under the scrutiny and criticism–constructive or otherwise–of other dance judges.