Len Goodman’s legacy will forever live on in the ballroom.
The legendary judge was honored during Tuesday’s Season 32 premiere of “Dancing With the Stars,” which marked the dance competition series’ first show since his death.
Co-hosts Julianne Hough and Alfonso Ribeiro paid tribute to Goodman during their opening monologue.
“We’re obviously missing a big part of our ‘Dancing With the Stars’ family tonight,” Ribeiro said after introducing current judges Derek Hough, Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli.
Hough called Goodman “irreplaceable,” adding that they wanted to find a way to “keep his spirit alive.”
The two then announced that the coveted mirrorball trophy has been renamed the “Len Goodman Mirrorball Trophy” in the late ballroom dancer’s honor.
It was redesigned to showcase the new moniker, with a silver plate that sits front and center at the bottom of the trophy.
“The ‘Len Goodman Mirrorball Trophy’ will now be lifted on ‘Dancing With the Stars’ like the Vince Lombardi trophy is lifted at the Super Bowl,” executive producer Conrad Green told USA Today ahead of the premiere.
“We wanted to make Len a permanent part of this show, to always remind people the importance he’s had to ‘Dancing With the Stars’ and how much he meant to all of us.”
Green added that Goodman “always had a twinkle in his eye” and a “brilliant turn of phrase” that will certainly be missed by viewers.
“He was very fair and knew what he was talking about,” he continued. “The respect he brought made the show stand on its own two feet. The dancers always wanted to know what Len thought of their performance.”
Goodman died in April at the age of 78 following a private battle with bone cancer.
“It is with great sadness to announce that Len Goodman has passed away peacefully, aged 78,” his former agent, Jackie Gill, confirmed in a statement at the time. “A much-loved husband, father and grandfather who will be sorely missed by family, friends and all who knew him.”
ABC and Disney+ echoed those sentiments in a separate joint statement, marveling over Goodman, who appeared as a judge on “DWTS” from 2005 until 2022.
“Len Goodman will always be an icon in the world of ballroom dance, and we were lucky to have him as part of our ‘Dancing with the Stars’ family for 31 seasons,” the statement read.
“He was warm and caring, and always delivered genuine guidance. We are devastated by the news of his passing and our hearts are with his family during this very difficult time.”
Last fall, Goodman announced he was retiring from “DWTS” after 17 years as a judge. He also served as head judge for the UK version of the show, “Strictly Come Dancing,” for 12 years.
“Whilst we all are getting excited and looking forward so much to the [Season 31] finale next week, it would also be with a touch of sadness and this will be my last season judging on ‘Dancing with the Stars,’” he explained in part during the live show on Nov. 14, 2022.
“I’ve decided I want to spend more time with my children and family. I cannot thank you enough, my ‘Dancing With the Stars’ family. It’s been such a wonderful experience for me.”
“Dancing With the Stars” airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC and Disney+, with episodes streaming on Hulu the following day.