Singer Will Young has announced he has withdrawn from Strictly Come Dancing for personal reasons.
The former Pop Idol winner, 37, said in a statement that he leaves with “joy in my heart that I have been able to take part in one of the most loved shows on British television”.
He praised his professional partner, Karen Clifton, saying that the creative partnership with her “has been the most wonderful thing to experience”.
He explained: “To be a part of Strictly has been a long time ambition of mine. As a performer, a viewer, and a fan of the show, to dance as a contestant was an experience I always hoped for.
“I have made some great friends, and am in awe of their performances week in, week out. I have found a creative partnership with Karen that has been the most wonderful thing to experience,” he said.
The singer said he would be “eternally grateful to her for her direction, talent and guiding me through three wonderful dances that I will be able to show my grandkids in years to come”.
He went on: “Unfortunately, I am leaving the show for personal reasons. I leave with joy in my heart that I have been able to take part in one of the most loved shows on British television.”
The star thanked everyone on the show and described them all as a “unique family”.
He said: “I thank them from the bottom of my heart. And finally thank you to the BBC for supporting me throughout my journey. I wish my compatriots so much luck, and although I am back to being a viewer again, I’m certainly going to ‘keeeep dancing’!”
The BBC said: “Due to personal reasons, Will Young has decided to withdraw from Strictly Come Dancing. The show fully respects his decision and wishes him all the best for the future.”
Will and Karen are currently in joint fourth position on the leaderboard with 31 points.
The couple performed a salsa during last weekend’s movie-themed episode, but drew criticism from head judge Len Goodman.
Will clashed with Goodman after the judge told the pair he thought there was a lack of salsa in the dance.
Their exchanged ended with Goodman telling Will to “turn up, keep up, shut up”.
A Strictly source said there is no bad blood between the pair following Saturday night’s exchange, and that there is a lot of mutual respect between them.
Will and Karen were due to perform the Viennese waltz to Say Something by A Great Big World and Christina Aguilera this weekend.
The show will proceed as normal with a results show on Sunday, when the third celebrity will be eliminated following the public vote.
Strictly Come Dancing airs on BBC One at 6:30pm on BBC One.