Bruno Tonioli Reflects on Loss of Len Goodman: ‘We Have to Celebrate Him’

DWTS judges and host

Heavy/Disney+ Len Goodman's death left his fellow DWTS stars heartbroken.

As the hype for season 32 of “Dancing with the Stars” builds, fans and cast members are continuing to reflect on the loss of Len Goodman. During a recent interview, fellow judge Bruno Tonioli got emotional as he shared a few tidbits about Goodman’s death and the friendship the two men had.

At the end of season 31 of DWTS, Goodman announced he was retiring. Sadly, just six months later, “Dancing with the Stars” fans were stunned to learn Goodman had died.

According to NPR, Goodman’s death at the age of 78 came as a result of bone cancer. He had kept the news of the diagnosis very private, but Tonioli now says he was aware of his good friend’s health issues.

Here’s what you need to know:

Bruno Tonioli Knew of Len Goodman’s Illness

Tonioli appeared on “LIVE with Kelly and Mark” on September 1, and he shared some tidbits about Goodman. “He told me, I knew [of his illness] well before” Goodman’s death, Tonioli acknowledged. He confirmed so few people were aware of the retired judge’s cancer diagnosis, because he “wanted to be completely private.”

When Tonioli wrapped up his time on “Britain’s Got Talent” and returned home, he knew Goodman’s death would come relatively soon. Even so, the “Dancing with the Stars” judge admitted, “I wasn’t expecting it to happen so soon.”

He also touched on receiving an email from Goodman when it had been announced Tonioli would be joining “Britain’s Got Talent.” Tonioli noted the email had been “very nice,” and Goodman ended it with a thank you to his good friend.

At that point, Tonioli choked up and admitted he couldn’t bear to share more specifics on the email that left such an impact on him.

Tonioli Knew Goodman Wouldn’t Want Him Moping

Show hosts Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos assured Tonioli they understood and did not push for additional details regarding the heartfelt email Goodman sent shortly before his death. Tonioli took a few seconds to compose himself and then shifted gears. He pointed out that Goodman would have hated Tonioli “doing this,” meaning getting sad and emotional.

Instead, Tonioli indicated, “He would say, ‘Okay, get on, Bruno. You’re a lucky man… we had a great time, enjoy it. Make every day count, have a good time.'” Of that type of positivity from Goodman, the returning “Dancing with the Stars” judge noted, “That’s his spirit.”

“We have to celebrate him,” Tonioli encouraged, as the audience cheered.

Some “Dancing with the Stars” fans took to Reddit and social media to continue the conversation Tonioli started. Fans have made it clear they are excited to have the show back soon, but they also consistently mention how much Goodman will be missed.

“This really has me welling up 😢 as much as I’m looking forward to the new season, part of me doesn’t feel ready, because (even though we’ve had Seasons without him in the past) ‘Dancing with the Stars’ will never be ‘Dancing with the Stars’ without Len Goodman,” wrote one Redditor.

One fan recently commented on one of Tonioli’s Instagram posts, “It won’t be the same without Len! BUUUT I can’t wait to see what’s in store!”

“The bitter sweet thing about #DWTS coming back is no Len. I’m still so sad that he is gone! I love him! I like teasing him about being on happy pills when he is in a good mood! It won’t be the same without him,” tweeted another “Dancing with the Stars” fan recently.