Strictly stars pay tribute to Darcey Bussell following surprise exit from show

Don't go, Darcey...

Following the shock news that Dame Darcey Bussell won't be returning to this year's Strictly Come Dancing, her former Strictly colleagues have started to share their surprise and support for the iconic judge. Professional dancer Katya Jones led the sweet tributes, writing: "@DarceyOfficial we will miss you so much! What a privilege to have worked with you for the past three years! Always so passionate about dancing!!! Wishing you all the best in whatever you do, always shining bright! Lots of love!!! " Head judge Shirley Ballas wrote: "Thank you for holding my hand all the way and being such an incredible friend. You were my rock when I was new to the show and have always been so kind. I for one will dearly miss my parnter in crime and our girly chats. It won't be the same without you."

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Darcey at the Olivier Awards last Sunday

Janette Manrara then emotionally added: "I will miss having this elegant, talented, smart and funny judge in our judging panel so, so much! For six years I had the privilege of working alongside her! She always has a smile on her face and is truly one of a kind! Her passion for dance is extremely evident in all of the projects she is involved in. A role model for me and someone whom I will always look up to."

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Darcey confirmed that she had decided to leave the show on Wednesday, telling the BBC: "It has been a complete privilege for me to be part of Strictly, working with such a talented team. I have enjoyed every minute of my time and will miss everyone from my fellow judges, the presenters, the dancers, the musicians, the entire backstage team, and especially the viewers of the show, who have been so supportive."

WATCH: Darcey Bussell spoke to HELLO! about Strictly last year

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The former dancer denied that she'd had any sort of fall out with her fellow Strictly judges, Shirley Ballas, Bruno Tonioli and Craig Revel Horwood. She said: "I am not leaving because of any upset or disagreement at all, I am just stepping away to give more focus to my many other commitments in dance, after seven truly wonderful years that I can't imagine having gone any better." Darcey concluded: "I know I will miss being part of this unique show and the fact that it celebrates dance is something I am so passionate about. I hope that I may be very lucky to be asked back again one day."

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