Len Goodman, who was head judge on Strictly Come Dancing for over a decade, has died just days before his 79th birthday, his agent has confirmed.

His agent, Jackie Gill told Sky News the dancer and choreographer died on Saturday night at a hospice in Kent, surrounded by his family. He had been diagnosed with bone cancer.

In a statement, she said: “It is with great sadness to announce that Len Goodman has passed away peacefully, aged 78.

“A much loved husband, father and grandfather who will be sorely missed by family, friends and all who knew him.”

Known for his warm humour and passion for Latin and Ballroom, Goodman was head judge on the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing from its launch in 2004 to 2016.

His score call of “se-ven!” became his catchphrase, cementing his popularity with Strictly fans.

His final appearance was on the 2016 Christmas Day special, after which he was replaced as head judge by Shirley Ballas.

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He also appeared on the American version of the show, Dancing With The Stars, from 2005 until his departure last year.

He said at the time that he wanted to “spend more time with my grandchildren and family” back in the UK.

Paying tribute, Strictly judge Craig Revel Horwood described Goodman as a “gorgeous colleague and dear friend”.

Revel Horwood tweeted: “I’ve just woken up to the sad news that my gorgeous colleague and dear friend Len Goodman has passed away.

“My heart and love go out to his lovely Sue and family.

“Len Goody Goodman is what I always called him and ‘It’s a ten from Len & seveeeeern’ will live with me forever. RIP Len”.

Born in Bromley, London, in April 1944, Goodman began his career as an apprentice welder, but started dancing at 19 after his doctor recommended it following a foot injury.

He went on to win various competitions including the British Championships in Blackpool in his late 20s.

Goodman was a recipient of the Carl Alan Award in recognition of outstanding contributions to dance

Away from his TV career, he was also the owner of Goodman Academy, a dance school in Dartford, Kent.