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Honoring ‘Dancing With the Stars’ Contestants and Cast Members Who Have Died During the Show’s Long Run

Gone, but not forgotten. Since its inception in 2005, Dancing With the Stars has made professional dancers household names and offered second chances to some forgotten stars. Unfortunately, a handful of members of the DWTS family have died over the years.

As celebrities and their professional dancer teammates train through the weeks leading up to one talented pair taking home the Mirrorball Trophy, it’s natural that the contestants and cast members form a close bond. James Van Der Beek, who competed on season 28, credited the community of the show with helping him mourn after his wife, Kimberly Brook, had suffered a miscarriage

“I did this show hoping my kids would see me work hard… little did I know they’d see me brought to my knees. Before our personal tragedy, I’d been trying to figure out a way to explain to my kids why I’d found it so important to support my cast even though they were technically my competitors,” the Dawson’s Creek alum wrote on Instagram in 2019. 

“And then they saw me need their support. And accept it. It’s not the Olympics… it’s a reality dance show. But it’s also a family … Thank you to my partner and friend for life [Emma Slater] for being so open and strong and talented, to the entire cast of pros for the mini master-classes and the wordless hugs, and the entire crew,” he wrote.

Sadly, the DWTS family has lost a number of contestants and dancers over the years. To honor those who have died since appearing on Dancing With the Stars, the show adds their name inside of a star on the floor of the ballroom. 

Florence Henderson, the beloved actress who played Carol in The Brady Bunch, was the first DWTS alum to die, and her sudden passing in 2016 shocked the cast.

“I had to take some time last night with my favorite person, Florence Henderson,” judge Carrie Ann Inaba shared at the time. “We have a star on the floor in her honor. I miss her person but will always feel her beautiful spirit in presence. Life is short but love is forever.”

Keep scrolling to see all of the former contestants and cast members of Dancing With the Stars who have passed after appearing on the show.

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