Comedian Robert Webb has withdrawn from Strictly Come Dancing due to “ill health”, according to the BBC.
In a statement, the Peep Show actor apologised for leaving the show.
He explained he had open-heart surgery two years ago and the show’s demanding schedule made him realise he had “bitten off way more than I could chew for this stage in my recovery.”
“I had begun to feel symptoms that led me to seek an urgent consultation with my heart specialist, and it was her view that it would be better for the sake of my health to step back from the show,” he said.
“I’m proud of the three dances that Dianne Buswell and I managed to perform and deeply regret having to let her down like this. I couldn’t have wished for a more talented partner or more patient teacher, and it’s a measure of Dianne’s professionalism and kindness that I was able to get as far as I did. Thanks too to everyone at home who voted for us.
“It was always going to be a difficult mountain to climb (for one thing it’s made of glitter so it’s very skiddy) and I’ve been especially touched by the support from fellow heart patients. I think perhaps I was too eager to impress them. They will know that recovery doesn’t always go in a straight line, and I hope they’re not too disappointed that I ran into the limits of my resilience much sooner than I’d hoped,” he continued.
Robert concluded: “I leave knowing that Strictly viewers are in very safe hands and I’ll be cheering for my brother and sister contestants all the way to Christmas. Despite this sad ending, it has been a genuine honour to be part of this huge, joyful and barking mad TV show. Long may it continue.”
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His professional dance partner Dianne Buswell said working with Robert was “the icing on the cake.”
“I am so proud of the three amazing dances we produced. I know Robert had a lot more to give to the competition but his health of course comes first and I wish him a speedy recovery”, she said.
“I feel lucky to have danced with him and to call him a friend.”
The dancing duo were fan and judge favourites – in just week two, the pair scored 27 for their tango.
Naturally, fans were heartbroken about Robert’s departure and turned to Twitter to send him messages of support.
Strictly Come Dancing continues at 7pm on Saturday.