Kevin Clifton has announced his departure from Strictly Come Dancing after seven "wonderful years". The pro dancer broke the news on social media on Friday. Sharing a heartfelt statement on Twitter, he wrote: "The past seven years have been some of the most wonderful years of my life. I am grateful to the BBC and Strictly Come Dancing for giving me the opportunity to have been a part of something truly special. Since first being called 'Kevin From Grimsby' by Sir Bruce Forsyth in 2013 I have experienced the highs of 5 finals, winning a Guinness World record on It Takes Two, the Strictly Arena tour glitterball and then the ultimate of winning the 2018 series with Stacey Dooley."
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He added: "After finishing last series with the Children in Need trophy and the Christmas Special I want to leave on a high and have therefore decided the time has come to move on and focus on other areas of my life and career. I want to thank all of the pros for inspiring me every day as well as my celebrity partners. The whole team behind the scenes have always made the Strictly family what it is and the loveliest show to work for.
Kevin Clifton has quit Strictly after seven years
"Thank you to anyone who has ever voted for me and my partners. It means the world. And a special thank you to Jason Gilkison for always believing in me. To me Strictly always has been and always will be the best show on TV and has been an absolute dream and honour to be a part of. Pre 2013 I used to watch every week. Now I look forward to returning to being a fan and cheering on my friends who keep dancing. Kevin Clifton."
Responding to his post, Kevin's girlfriend Stacey Dooley wrote: "I could burst with pride. Undeniably, the most successful pro on Strictly. Won everything, treated everyone with respect and kindness, worked SO bloody hard and now, leaving on a high. You will always be the King of Strictly."
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Kevin Clifton and Stacey Dooley won in 2018
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Strictly also shared the news on their official Twitter account, writing: "Sadly Kevin Clifton is leaving #Strictly after seven incredible years on the show. Join us in wishing him all the best, @keviclifton you’ll be sorely missed!" The post accompanied a photo of Kevin lifting the Glitterball trophy in 2018 alongside Stacey, and a statement, which read: "Kevin has been such a brilliant part of Strictly for the past seven years. From reaching the final an impressive five times, to lifting the Glitterball with Stacey Dooley in 2018, he has provided the show with some fantastic moments, through his exceptional talent as a dancer and choreographer. He will be hugely missed by fans and by his Strictly family. He will always be our Kevin from Grimsby."
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