Tragic Strictly deaths – suicide, pneumonia and sudden collapse on holiday

Strictly Come Dancing fans will associate the glitzy BBC show with many romance splits – but relationship breakdowns are not the only tragedies associated with the programme.

The universally loved ballroom dancing competition has been in full operation for a staggering 19 series and welcomed over 260 contestants since the programme first aired in 2004.

While Strictly has given viewers much love and warmth across the years there has also been heartache where many of the stars of the show have been concerned.

Fans across the globe have been left emotional after learning that some of their favourite celebrities – who once astounded the judges with their sheer awesomeness – had sadly slipped away.

In honour of the finale, Daily Star would like to a take a moment to remember those stars who have fallen and remind Strictly viewers that they will never be far from our minds.

Willie Thorne

Last year, the news shattered the hearts of many die hard fans that professional snooker player and funnyman Willie Thorne had sadly lost his battle with leukaemia.

Willie formed part of the 2007 line-up which included some serious competition from Britain's Got Talent judge and overall winner that year, Alesha Dixon.

With that particular year having really strong contenders such as Gethin Jones and Matt Di Angelo – it was no suprise to anyone watching at home that Willie was out of the race quite early on.

He finished in 12th place with professional Latin ballroom dancer Erin Boag.

After Erin had learned about her partners death, she took to social media to share a message from the heart.

She wrote: "I have truly wonderful memories of the time I spent with him. I feel honoured to have danced with this great man."

Caroline Flack

Caroline Flack's death shocked her loved ones and fans following the devastating loss.

The former X Factor presenter hedged her bets and decided to throw her hat in the ring for Strictly in 2014 – which was one year before she'd landed the starring role as Love Island host.

She proved to be an instant hit with fans, not only due to her fun loving nature but because she showed rhythm, flexibility and agility like no other.

Caroline proved that with hard work and determination she could go all the way in the competition, and she did just that with a huge smile on her face.

The TV star had been pared with Pasha Kovalev with the twosome landing first place after being awarded a perfect score of 120 points by the entire judging panel.

In February 2020, Caroline was found dead in her North London home at the age of 40, after she'd taken her own life.

A family statement at the time read: "We can confirm that our Caroline passed away today on the 15th February.

"We would ask that the press both respect the privacy of the family at this difficult time."

After hearing the sad news, the BBC decided to pay an emotional tribute to fun-loving Caroline on the programme.

Judge Bruno Tonioli said: "She really was a joy. We will always love Caroline and we will never forget her."

Bruce Forsyth

The Strictly cast and fans alike have never really got over the loss of the original frontman and host Sir Bruce Forsyth.

Bruce had given his whole life to the entertainment industry with his on-screen career spanning more than 70-years.

He was an icon in his own right, long before he'd even been cast as the host of the BBC favourite.

In 2014, Bruce stepped down from his co-hosting role alongside Tess Daly – who the TV veteran liked call "Miss Sunshine".

Just three years later, Strictly would never be the same again after it was confirmed that Bruce had passed away after being taken to hospital for a severe chest infection which then developed into bronchial pneumonia – which the star didn't get over.

At the time, Tess said in a warm statement: "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."

Paul Daniels

The magician had been better known for his role alongside his glamorous wife and assistant Debbie McGee with The Paul Daniels Magic Show dominating screens for 15 years.

In 2010, at the ripe age of 71, Paul tried his hand on the BBC dance floor alongside professional dancer Ola Jordan.

While they only managed to remain in the competition for a few short weeks, they certainly delivered a number of memorable performances.

The curtain sadly came down on his career and life when he passed away at home in 2016, leaving wife Debbie totally devastated.

A year later, Debbie decided she wanted to make her husband proud and also joined the 2017 ranks in the fight for the glitterball trophy.

She certainly put up a good battle in honour of her husband and reached the final alongside Giovanni Pernice

Gary Rhodes

The sudden death of Gary Rhodes in 2019 is one tragedy that people are still trying to come to terms with.

Much to the shock of the entire nation, the TV chef's family confirmed that Gary had passed away suddenly at his home in Dubai.

The family statement read: "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.

"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 Hardy had been partnered with Gary on Strictly in 2008, in a heartfelt statement she said: "I am truly speechless and lost for words but my heart and thoughts go out to his beautiful family at this time."

Lynda Bellingham

Loose Women and TV star Lynda Bellingham became the first celebrity to sadly pass away after appearing on Strictly – which proved to be the beginning of much heartache to come.

She was much loved for her performances in All Creatures Great and Small, Doctor Who and playing the role of the Oxo gravy mum in the much loved tv adverts during the 80s.

Lynda proved she had heart and stamina as she waltzed alongside dancer Darren Bennet in 2009.

The pair were up against some tough opponents and were therefore voted off in the fourth week.

In 2013, Lynda was sadly diagnosed with cancer and lost her life to disease just over a year later at the age of 66.

She left behind her two adult sons and husband Michael Pattemore.

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