Shirley Ballas emotionally says Len Goodman was ‘quite frail’ the last time she saw him

Shirley Ballas has paid an emotional tribute to her late friend and fellow dancer Len Goodman, following his death on 22 April.

The Strictly Come Dancing head judge, 62, who replaced Len on the BBC One show in 2016, appeared on Loose Women on Wednesday, where she spoke about her friendship with Len as well as the last time she saw him.

Shirley told how she had known the Dancing with the Stars judge since she was "a very small child" and described him as an "icon".

"I think it's very difficult for all my particular industry because I separate Strictly and Dancing With The Stars. But I've known Len from a very small child and I have a lot of good friends in the industry and we all loved Len," Shirley said.

She went on to emotionally share some of the advice he'd given her early on in her dance career, and praised Len for being a "beautiful human being".

"He could make the rain go away and he was such a beautiful human being," the star said. "Of course later in my career I trained with him.

"He was probably responsible for you know, saying to me, 'Shirley, you can take your work seriously, but stop taking yourself so seriously' because I was such a person that wanted to learn all about the technique."

She added: "And he taught me more about the human spirit. I will take that with me forever. He was just so wonderful. He really was."

The Strictly star revealed her son Mark, 36, who is a professional dancer on Dancing with the Stars, called the late star 'Uncle Len' as he'd known him since he was a baby.

Shirley jetted to the US last year for the launch show of DWTS to support her son, and this was the final time she saw Len before he passed.

"I went to see the launch show last year when Mark decided he was going to do Dancing with the Stars and I saw Len there and I got my last and final cuddle with him there," she emotionally told the Loose Women panellists.

She sadly described him as "quite frail" and admitted he "didn't look the best" at the time, but was still "full of humour".

During her Loose Women appearance, Shirley also excitedly confirmed she will be returning to Strictly Come Dancing as head judge later this year.

"I'm very excited," she said, before emotionally saying she doesn't think she could "ever fill Len's shoes" on the hit BBC One show.


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