STRICTLY Come Dancing star Aljaz Skorjanec has QUIT the BBC competition after nine years as a professional.
The Slovenian hunk – one of the dancing contest's most popular pros – is the latest big name to quit, just weeks after Oti Mabuse announced she was exiting.
It also comes after his wife and fellow Strictly pro Janette Manrara quit dancing on the show to become the host of it spin off on BBC2 Strictly: It Takes Two.
Posting this morning on Instagram, Aljaz, 32, said: "On a beautiful sunny day in May 2013 one phone call changed my life forever!
"It went like this… 'We would like to offer you a position on @bbcstrictly as a professional dancer'.
"A dream became a reality and it was the biggest opportunity for a 23-year-old boy from Slovenia. It didn't matter how many beautiful ballrooms I performed in during my competitive career, stepping onto the sacred Strictly floor was the most nervous I had ever been."
Aljaz went on to reveal that he had made the decision to quit the show before the 2021 series, noting that he was "forever grateful".
"Being a part of a group of professionals that inspire and push you to be better every step of the way is humbling and I will carry that inspiration with me forever," he gushed.
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Aljaz concluded his post by thanking everyone he worked alongside on Strictly, including his fellow dancers, contestants and wife Janette.
"Finally, thank YOU, the people that watch Strictly who have been so kind to me all these years," he wrote in the emotional post.
"I have lots of exciting stuff planned that I will fill you in on soon. I can't wait to see what the future holds! KEEEEEP DANCING!"
Sarah James, executive producer of Strictly, spoke on behalf of the whole team as she wished Aljaz well following his departure.
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She said: "He will be missed by his Strictly family, both on and off the dancefloor, and we wish him only the very best as he embarks on his next chapter.”
Rumours started to grow that he may be leaving the show around Christmas when he made cryptic remarks suggesting he was about to throw in the towel.
It's believed the dancing champion is going on to work on new solo projects and potentially work his wife Janette on joint projects.
Aljaz joined the show in 2013 and immediately won after being partnered with Abbey Clancy – becoming only the fourth pro on the show to triumph on their debut outing.
Since then, he's become one of the most popular stars of the show being partnered with the likes of Alison Hammond, Sara Davies, Daisy Lowe and Gemma Atkinson.
Strictly star Aljaz made his final appearance on the show last year, when he danced alongside his wife Janette, 38.
Viewers went wild as the married pro dancing couple were reunited for a very passionate dance, before joining the group ensemble.
The couple got married back in 2017, with many of their fellow Strictly pros and celebrity pals attending the wedding.
They first met while performing in Broadway's Burn The Floor, and toured the world together – but with the tour drawing to a close Aljaz and Janette faced a difficult long-distance relationship.
While she prepared to jet back to LA, Aljaz was going to return to Slovenia.
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Speaking on the Sliding Doors podcast, Janette confessed: "The thought of doing the whole long-distance thing made it hard for us. We were very scared about what was going to happen to our relationship."
But in a twist of fate, Strictly producers spotted them while watching the Broadway production, and asked them both to audition for the show.
Janette later quit her role as a dancer on Strictly and co-hosts its sister show It Takes Two with Rylan instead.
But the couple surprised everyone when they reunited on the dance floor to deliver a jaw-dropping routine as Ed Sheeran's Bad Habits.
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