Brendan Cole has announced he will not be returning to Strictly Come Dancing.
The professional dancer revealed during a TV interview on Tuesday that the decision was made by the BBC, saying he was “in shock”.
“They made an editorial decision not to have me back on the show,” he said on ITV’s Lorraine.
A spokesman for the BBC One show thanked Cole for “being part of the show since the beginning” and contributing to its success.
Cole was one of the first professional dancers when the show launched in 2004, which was the year he won the contest with newsreader Natasha Kaplinsky.
He said: “I’m a little bit in shock at the moment. I’m quite emotional and a bit raw about it.
“I have had 15 incredible series on the show, I’m very proud of the whole show, they’re a great team.”
The New Zealand ballroom dancer, who is currently on tour with his musical show All Night Long, said the exit would give him time to work on other projects.
He is also awaiting the birth of his second child with model Zoe Hobbs.
Cole’s last series saw him paired with Good Morning Britain presenter, Charlotte Hawkins.
They were eliminated in week four.
She said she was “sad” to hear of his departure, and that Strictly “won’t be the same without him”.
A spokesman for the BBC said: “We’d like to thank Brendan for being part of the show since the beginning – winner of the first series – and for the contribution he has made to its success.
“We wish him all the very best for the future.”
Source: BBC News