Strictly Come Dancing is one of the best competitive reality shows on TV. That's not only true because of the talent on display, but because of how it lets us into contestants' lives.
We get an insight into their day-to-day routines, become familiar with people we might not have seen perform before, and see well-known faces in a new and refreshing light.
Sadly, over the last sixteen years since the show began, some of its most beloved stars have passed away. Read on for our tribute to the Strictly celebrities we've loved and lost…
Love Island presenter Caroline wowed fans with her beautiful dancing back in 2014, when she lifted the glitterball trophy with pro partner Pasha Kovalev after they received a perfect score of 120 points, the first couple to achieve that feat.
Viewers were devastated following her death this February and in a tribute to Caroline that aired on the show, long-time Strictly judge Bruno Tonioli told cameras: "She really was a joy. We will always love Caroline and we will never forget her."
WATCH: Pasha Kovalev speaks about Caroline Flack for the first time since her death
The legendary magician was best known for fronting The Paul Daniels Magic Show between 1979 and 1994, which he starred in with his wife and assistant, Debbie McGee.
His run on Strictly alongside Ola Jordan was much shorter, lasting just a couple of weeks. However, in 2017, a year after he died of a brain tumour, Debbie did him proud when she reached the final with Giovanni Pernice.
The sharp-haired celebrity chef was partnered with Karen Hardy back in 2008 and enjoyed a short but fun-filled three-week stint on the show.
Gary died in Dubai in November 2019 at the age of 59 and Karen paid a moving tribute to the chef via social media soon afterwards, writing: "I am truly speechless and lost for words but my heart and thoughts go out to his beautiful family at this time."
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Actress, Loose Women stalwart and 'Oxo mum' in the beloved series of 1980s TV adverts, Lynda danced with 2006 winner Darren Bennett back in 2009, making it to the fourth week of the show with a series of heartfelt performances.
She was diagnosed with cancer in 2013 and sadly died just over a year later at the age of 66, leaving behind her widower, Michael Pattemore, and two adult sons.
READ: Strictly viewers in tears over emotional tribute to Caroline Flack
Celebrity stylist and Strictly hair designer Neal died suddenly just a month before the 2015 series, after complaining of chest pains. It would have been his fifth year on the show, and his colleagues were quick to pay tribute to the talented 42-year-old.
Strictly's head makeup artist Lisa Armstrong took to social media, where she wrote: "Utterly devastated and heartbroken over the loss of my sidekick and dear friend @Nealepirie such a talent and inspiration!"
Neale was also known for his work on Skyfall and The Voice, as well as for clients including Abbey Clancy.
The Luton-born comedian appeared on the first series of Strictly in 2004, where he left after performing a Rumba and a Waltz.
The big personality was also known for his brilliant impressions of singers ranging from Pavarotti to Morrissey, and for performing at the Hackney Empire and Shepherd's Bush Empire when he was just 18.
He died in his sleep in 2010 at the age of 38.
The professional snooker player died just a few months ago, in June 2020, following a diagnosis of leukaemia.
While he didn't stay long on series five of Strictly back in 2007, the kind and characterful sportsman made a huge impact, with his partner Erin Boag tweeting after his death: "I have truly wonderful memories of the time I spent with him. I feel honoured to have danced with this great man."
Part of the show's original hosting team with Tess Daly, Brucie was a fan favourite who often broke out some impressive moves of his own!
The warm-hearted presenter stepped down from the show in 2014 and passed away in 2017 aged 89.
MORE: Strictly tragedies: from Willie Thorne to Sir Bruce Forsyth
In a statement, Tess paid tribute to her friend, saying: "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."
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