Dancing with the Stars pays tribute to the late Len Goodman

len goodman on dancing with the stars, 2017
Dancing with the Stars pays tribute to Len GoodmanAdam Rose via Getty Images

Dancing with the Stars has paid a heartwarming tribute to its former head judge Len Goodman, who passed away in April at the age of 78.

The US version of Strictly Come Dancing launched its new season on Tuesday night (September 26), beginning with co-hosts Alfonso Ribeiro and Julianne Hough sharing a heartfelt message in honour of Goodman.

"We’re obviously missing a big part of our Dancing With the Stars family tonight," Ribeiro began.

carrie ann inaba, derek hough, len goodman,bruno tonioli, dancing with the stars

Related: Dancing with the Stars judge Derek Hough opens up about Len Goodman's death

Hough continued: "Len was on this panel for nearly all of our 31 seasons. And although he is irreplaceable, we wanted to keep his spirit alive."

The pair then presented the show's Mirrorball Trophy, which has now been renamed the Len Goodman Mirrorball Trophy.

"It is so fantastic that Len will always be going forward with us," Hough added, before teasing a "spectacular tribute to Len from our dancers" in the weeks ahead.

The tribute comes shortly after it was confirmed that Dancing With the Stars wouldn't be filling Goodman's seat on the judging panel.

len goodman on dancing with the stars, 2017
Adam Rose via Getty Images

Related: Strictly Come Dancing pays tribute to Len Goodman

"I've always felt Len is irreplaceable," executive producer Conrad Green told Entertainment Weekly. "He's such an important part of the history of the show and such an important part of the reason the show is successful [with] his honesty, his specialist ballroom knowledge, and him coming genuinely from that world."

He added: "His legacy of what he's brought to the show is amazing. It was never in my mind to replace him."

Green added that Goodman initially agreed to do the show because he wanted to make sure ballroom was properly represented.

Dancing with the Stars streams live on Disney+ in the US.

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