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The Strictly stars we’ve loved and lost: After dancer Robin Windsor’s shock death is revealed, a look at the other legends of the BBC show who have sadly passed away

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Strictly Come Dancing stars have delighted millions of viewers for the last 20 years – but away from the glitz, glamour and romance, there has also been tragedy.

Today, it was announced that former Strictly star ‘Bobby’ Windsor – who performed on the ballroom show between 2010 and 2015 – has died suddenly at the age of 44.

Over the years, the ‘extremely talented’ professional Latin and Ballroom dancer partnered up with model Patsy Kensit, EastEnders legend Anita Dobson, Loose Woman Lisa Riley and Dragon’s Den star Deborah Meaden

Tributes have poured in since Robin’s death was announced, including from an emotional Susanna Reid, who danced with the star on Strictly for Children in Need in 2011.  

After Robin’s shock death, MailOnline has looked back at some of the other stars of the programme that we have loved and lost over the years…

Former Strictly Come Dancing Star Robin ‘Bobby’ Windsor – known for his appearances on the show between 2010 and 2015 – has died suddenly at the age of 44. He is pictured here dancing with Dragons’ Den star Deborah Meaden

Robin 'Bobby' Windsor's death was tragically announced today. Tributes have poured in since

Robin ‘Bobby’ Windsor’s death was tragically announced today. Tributes have poured in since

Len Goodman 

Len Goodman was one of Strictly Come Dancing’s most legendary judges. 

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He joined the show when it launched in 2004 and was a constant presence on the show until 2016. 

‘It’s a 10 from Len!’, possibly became his most famous catchphrase and he also offered praise such as ‘You floated across the floor like butter on a crumpet’, and ‘That was a mango of a tango – delicious!’

Len died in April 2023 at the age of 78 following a battle with bone cancer. 

He was surrounded by his family and friends before he passed away in a hospice in Tunbridge Wells, Kent. 

Strictly host Tess Daly led tributes to her former colleague, with a reference to his catchphrase ‘seven!’. She said: ‘You were never a seven for me, Len you were always a ten.’

And judge Anton Du Beke paid tribute to his ‘dear friend of nearly 45 years’, calling him a ‘national treasure’.

Len goodman joined Strictly when it launched in 2004 and was a constant figure on the show until 2016

Len goodman joined Strictly when it launched in 2004 and was a constant figure on the show until 2016

Caroline Flack 

Caroline Flack’s death in 2020 shocked fans across the globe. 

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The former X Factor presenter threw her hat in the ring for Strictly in 2014 – only a year before she landed her role as Love Island host.  

She was an instant hit on the show and took home the Glitterball trophy with partner Pasha Kovalev. 

Caroline showed great rhythm, flexibility and agility and landed a perfect score of 120 points from the judging panel. 

But tragically, the TV star was found dead in her flat in North London in February 2020 at the age of 40. She had taken her own life. 

It came the day after hearing that the Crown Prosecution Service would go ahead with a trial for allegedly attacking her model boyfriend and former tennis player Lewis Burton in December 2019.  

Caroline’s death was ruled a suicide in an inquest in August 2020.

After news of her death, judge Bruno Tonioli said: ‘She really was a joy. We will always love Caroline and we will never forget her.’

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Pasha Kovalev and Caroline Flack after they were crowned winners of Strictly Come Dancing in 2014

Pasha Kovalev and Caroline Flack after they were crowned winners of Strictly Come Dancing in 2014

Caroline Flack and Pasha Kovalev are pictured dancing on the show and they went on to win it

Caroline Flack and Pasha Kovalev are pictured dancing on the show and they went on to win it

Bruce Forsyth 

Sir Bruce Forsyth was a Strictly Come Dancing icon and the host on the show until 2014. 

Bruce’s career in the entertainment industry spanned 70 years and started long before he became the frontman on the BBC show. 

His catchphrases which included ‘Nice to see you, to see you, nice, ‘Didn’t they do well?’ and ‘You’re my favourites!’ became legendary. 

Bruce co-hosted the show along with Tess Daley who he liked to call ‘Miss Sunshine’.

He died in 2017 of pneumonia at the age of 89. Bruce had not been seen in public for some time before his death due to ill health. 

Bruce was unable to attend the funerals of close friends Ronnie Corbett and Sir Terry Wogan in 2016.

After news broke of his death, Tess paid tribute to him. 

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Sir Bruce Forsyth was a Strictly Come Dancing icon and the host on the show until 2014

Sir Bruce Forsyth was a Strictly Come Dancing icon and the host on the show until 2014

She said: ‘From the moment we met, Bruce and I did nothing but laugh our way through a decade of working together on Strictly Come Dancing and I will never forget his generosity, his brilliant sense of humour and his drive to entertain.

‘He was a gentleman and a true legend and I will miss him deeply. My heart goes out to Winnie, his wife, and his beautiful family at this sad time.’

Claudia Winkleman added: ‘He was the King of TV, the Prince of performers and the most generous of people, all toe-tapping twinkle, all kindness, all love. The Bruce you saw really was the man he was. We’ll miss him so much.’

Willie Thorne 

Professional snooker player and funnyman Willie Thorne was part of the Strictly Come Dancing line-up in 2007. 

He was up against stiff competition which included Britain’s Got Talent judge Alesha Dixon and Gethin Jones and Matt Di Angelo. 

Willie finished in 12th place and partnered Latin ballroom professional Erin Boag. 

He died in 2020 at the age of 66 after being diagnosed with leukaemia. He passed away in hospital in Spain after suffering ‘septic shock’ following respiratory failure.

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Erin paid tribute to her former dance partner on social media, writing: ‘I have truly wonderful memories of the time I spent with him.

‘I feel honoured to have danced with this great man.’

Willie Thorne finished in 12th place and partnered Latin ballroom professional Erin Boag

Willie Thorne finished in 12th place and partnered Latin ballroom professional Erin Boag 

Willie became a snooker pro in 1976 aged 21 and went on to reach two World Championship quarter-finals, winning his only ranking title – the Mercantile Credit Classic – in 1985. 

He became popularly known as Mr Maximum for holding the record for the most maximum 147 breaks.

He starred as part of snooker’s ‘Matchroom Mob’ and went on to become a BBC and Sky commentator.

Gary Rhodes 

TV chef Gary Rhodes passed away suddenly at his home in Dubai in 2019 at the age of 59. 

He appeared on Strictly Come Dancing in 2008 with partner Karen Hardy. 

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A family statement confirming his death reading: ‘In order to end painful speculation surrounding the sudden passing of our beloved Gary Rhodes OBE, the Rhodes family can confirm that after a successful day shooting with Rock Oyster Media for ITV here in Dubai, Gary returned home in a very happy mood for a peaceful evening with his wife Jennie.

TV chef Gary Rhodes (pictured with Karen Hardy on Strictly) passed away suddenly at his home in Dubai in 2019

TV chef Gary Rhodes (pictured with Karen Hardy on Strictly) passed away suddenly at his home in Dubai in 2019

‘After dinner, Gary unfortunately collapsed in their residence and was rushed to hospital but unfortunately passed away due to subdural haematoma.

‘At this time, there are no other details and the family would again request privacy around this very tragic loss and again, thank friends and family for their ongoing support at this time.’

Karen also paid tribute to him: ‘I am truly speechless and lost for words but my heart and thoughts go out to his beautiful family at this time.’

Gary fronted several TV shows including Rhodes Across India, MasterChef, MasterChef USA, Hell’s Kitchen, and Rhodes Around Britain, was one of Britain’s best-loved chefs.

In 2006 he was made an OBE and two years later appeared on the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing.

 Paul Daniels 

Paul Daniels joined the Strictly Come Dancing line-up in 2010 at the age of 71.

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The magician partnered professional dancer Ola Jordan, and despite only being in the competition for a few weeks, he certainly made his mark on the show. 

Paul Daniels joined the Strictly Come Dancing line-up in 2010 at the age of 71

Paul Daniels joined the Strictly Come Dancing line-up in 2010 at the age of 71

Paul was known for The Paul Daniels Magic Show which he starred in alongside his wife and assistant Debbie McGee. 

The magician passed away at home in Berkshire in March 2016 after a brain tumour diagnosis less than a month earlier. 

A year later, his wife Debbie joined the Strictly line-up herself in memory of her husband. 

Debbie was a hit on the show and made the final along with her partner Giovanni Pernice.  

Source: Daily Mail

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