“A Dancer. A teacher. A refined gentleman. A wonderful storyteller. A special soul. A mentor. A family man. And… A treasured friend,” Inaba, 55, captioned a loving tribute to her former colleague via Instagram on Monday, April 24. “Saying goodbye at the end of last season broke my heart. But today’s news has shattered it all over again. I can’t believe that you’re gone. 💔 You were one of a kind my dear friend. And I will cherish our memories and hold them close, while I join so many others in mourning your loss.”
The Hawaii native added: “Thank you for all that you shared with us. Your humor, your wisdom, your wit and your truth. Until we meet again…✨ Rest In Peace Len 🤍.”
Along with Goodman, the In Living Color alum was one of the original three judges on the reality dance competition, which premiered on ABC in 2005. Goodman served as head judge with Inaba and Bruno Tonioli, missing parts of season 19 and 23 and all of season 21 and 29. (Derek Hough was tapped to fill in during the 2020 season amid the coronavirus pandemic.)
Goodman’s agent confirmed on Monday that he died two days prior at a hospice in Kent, England. He was 78. “A much loved husband, father and grandfather who will be sorely missed by family, friends and all who knew him,” read a statement to Us Weekly.
The late TV personality previously announced his departure from DWTS, which now airs on Disney+, in November 2022 after season 31. “I’ve been with the show since it started in 2005 and it has been a huge pleasure to be part of such a wonderful show, but I’ve decided I would like to spend more time with my grandchildren and family back in Britain,” he said at the time. “I cannot thank you enough, the Dancing With the Stars family, it’s been such a wonderful experience for me and I’m looking forward so much to next week’s finale.”
Inaba continued to mourn the loss of her fellow DWTS judge via social media on Monday, revealing when she learned of his death. “Just after 2:15am, I received the news that our Len Goodman had passed away,” she wrote via her Instagram Story. “I am deeply saddened and in shock. Like many of you, I’m broken hearted. 💔.”
She concluded: “He wouldn’t want us to be sad. … Think of one of your favorite Len-isms, and remember him fondly. And then turn on your favorite tune, grab the person next to you and dance. 💕 I think he’d like that.”
Goodman is survived by wife Sue Barrett and his son, James William Goodman, whom he welcomed with an ex.
Scroll down to see how Goodman’s DWTS family reacted to his death: