Comedian and actor Robert Webb has quit Strictly Come Dancing due to concerns over his health following an “urgent consultation” with his heart doctor.
Two years ago the star underwent emergency heart surgery.
He said in a statement: “Although I believed I was fit enough to take on Strictly and its demanding schedule, it became clear that I had bitten off way more than I could chew for this stage in my recovery.
“I had begun to feel symptoms that led me to seek an urgent consultation with my heart specialist, and it was her view that it would be better for the sake of my health to step back from the show.”
He said he “deeply regretted” letting down his celebrity partner adding: “It’s a measure of Dianne’s professionalism and kindness that I was able to get as far as I did.
“Thanks too to everyone at home who voted for us. It was always going to be a difficult mountain to climb (for one thing it’s made of glitter so it’s very skiddy) and I’ve been especially touched by the support from fellow heart patients.
“I think perhaps I was too eager to impress them. They will know that recovery doesn’t always go in a straight line, and I hope they’re not too disappointed that I ran into the limits of my resilience much sooner than I’d hoped.”
His dance partner, Dianne Buswell, added that his “health comes first”.
She said: “We made a great team, worked hard, and had a good laugh along the way. I am so proud of the three amazing dances we produced. I know Robert had a lot more to give to the competition but his health, of course, comes first and I wish him a speedy recovery.
“I feel lucky to have danced with him and to call him a friend.”
Webb first learned of the problem with his heart during a routine medical check-up in 2019, while on the set of Channel 4 sitcom Back.
Doctors told him he was suffering from a heart murmur caused by a mitral valve prolapse.
Sarah James, Strictly Come Dancing executive producer, added: “Although we are so sad that Robert has withdrawn from the show we completely understand and support his decision, health always comes first.
“Despite their Strictly journey coming to an end earlier than anyone would have hoped, Robert and Dianne really made their mark on the competition, with three unforgettable dances choreographed superbly by the brilliant Dianne.
“They have been a wonderful partnership and we’d like to thank them for the commitment, creativity, and joy they brought to the show. Everyone involved in Strictly Come Dancing sends Robert their love and best wishes for his continued recovery.”