Strictly Come Dancing professional Natalie Lowe has quit the show after seven series.
The 36-year-old dancer – who has been partnered with the likes of Ricky Whittle and Ainsley Harriott – said she had made the “difficult decision” with a “heavy heart” as she announced her departure ahead of the new series this autumn.
“This was a very difficult decision for me not to accept the invitation to appear on this season of Strictly Come Dancing,” she told PA.
“It is with a very heavy heart that I have arrived at this decision.”
She added: “I’ll be forever grateful for the amazing time, opportunities and memories that Strictly has created for me. My time on the programme has been everything that I dreamed it would be and more.
“From the friendships I developed, the amazing dances I was able to perform in and the experiences that Strictly provided, it has been an incredible and extraordinary adventure.”
“Everyone at Strictly wishes Natalie the best,” added a BBC source in reaction to news of Lowe’s departure.
The Australian most recently danced with Olympic champion Greg Rutherford, finishing seventh, just behind former politician Ed Balls.
Since joining Strictly in 2009, she came closest to lifting the Glitterball in her first year when she and Whittle finished runners up to Chris Hollins and Ola Jordan.
Prior to the BBC1 series, Lowe had appeared on the Australian version – Dancing with the Stars – between 2004 and 2008, winning the show in 2006.