Strictly Come Dancing professional Oti Mabuse quits show after seven years

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Oti Mabuse is leaving 'Strictly Come Dancing' after seven years. (Getty)
Oti Mabuse is leaving 'Strictly Come Dancing' after seven years. (Getty)

Oti Mabuse has announced she is leaving Strictly Come Dancing after seven years and two victories.

The 31-year-old professional dancer - currently appearing as a new judge on ITV's Dancing On Ice - joined the BBC show in 2015 and is the only pro to have won the glitterball two years in a row.

Mabuse said: “I have been part of the most amazing TV show, Strictly Come Dancing for the past seven years and it has been an incredible time. Lifting the Glitterball twice and having the best journey with all my celebrities, but also meeting and working with the best team, crew, producers, celebs and professional dancers! You are my family and I adore you all forever.

"I’m honestly so grateful to the BBC and will always remember that Strictly and the BBC brought me to the UK - which I now call home and I have learnt and grown so much. Thank You from the bottom of my heart.

Read more: Oti Mabuse stands defiant against racist and fat-shaming trolls

"I can’t put into words how difficult this decision has been, but I have decided not to return for the next series.

"Dance will always be my first love and to everyone, my family, friends, Strictly fans who have been my support throughout my Strictly journey, thank you for being incredible! You are irreplaceable in my heart and have made every day unforgettable! I love you.

Watch: Oti Mabuse was asked about her future on Strictly earlier this year

"I will always Keeeep Dancing! and I will never forget my amazing Strictly experience!”

Mabuse - whose older sister Motsi Mabuse is a judge on the show - won the celebrity dance contest in 2019 with Emmerdale star Kelvin Fletcher and then again in 2020 with comedian Bill Bailey.

Sarah James, the show's executive producer, said: “Oti has been a truly wonderful part of Strictly for the past seven years. Her energy, creativity and talent have contributed to so many of the show’s most memorable moments and she will be hugely missed, not only by viewers but the entire team.

Programme Name: Strictly Come Dancing 2021 - TX: 18/09/2021 - Episode: Strictly Come Dancing - Launch Show (No. n/a) - Picture Shows:  Bill Bailey, Oti Mabuse - (C) BBC - Photographer: Guy Levy
Oti Mabuse won the show in 2020 dancing with Bill Bailey. (BBC)

Read more: Oti Mabuse shares emotional surprise reunion with family in South Africa

"She leaves a dazzling legacy behind her, as the only professional dancer to lift the Glitterball Trophy in two consecutive years. We couldn’t be prouder of Oti and what she has achieved on the show. She will always be at the very heart of our Strictly family and we wish her every success in her already bright future.”

The eight-time South African Latin American Champion joined Strictly in 2013, having previously appeared on the German version of the show Let's Dance.

She has been a judge on the BBC's The Greatest Dancer and a panellist on ITV's The Masked Dancer.

In 2019 she competed in Celebrity MasterChef.

Strictly Come Dancing is due to return for its 20th series later this year.

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