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‘Dancing With the Stars’ judge Len Goodman dies at 78

Len Goodman, Bruno Tonioli and Carrie Ann Inaba during ABC Upfront 2006/2007 - Arrivals at Lincoln Center in New York City, New York, United States. Goodman has died at the age of 78. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/FilmMagic)

LONDON (AP) — Len Goodman, the urbane, long-serving judge on “Dancing with the Stars” and “Strictly Come Dancing,” has died, his agent said Monday. He was 78.

Agent Jackie Gill said Goodman “passed away peacefully,” without giving a cause.

A former dancer and British champion, Goodman was a judge on “Strictly Come Dancing” for 12 years from its launch on the BBC in 2004. The ballroom dancing competition, which pairs celebrities with professional dance partners, has become one of the network’s most popular shows.

Goodman was head judge on the U.S. version of the show, “Dancing With the Stars,” for 15 years until his retirement in November.

BBC director-general Tim Davie said 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.”

Goodman was also a recipient of the Carl Alan Award in recognition of outstanding contributions to dance, and owned the Goodman Academy dance school in southern England.