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Jeannie Mai, a contestant on the current season of ABC’s Dancing With the Stars, has left the reality dance competition after being hospitalized for a potentially life-threatening health issue.
The Real co-host has been diagnosed with epiglottitis, an inflammatory condition that can cause swelling and block airflow to the lungs, and confirmed the news to Good Morning America on Monday.
“It saddens me that I will not be able to continue with the competition on DWTS,” the TV host said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter. “My doctors discovered a health concern with my throat which requires immediate attention and surgery. I am heartbroken that my DWTS journey has to end here.”
She continued, “The last several weeks have been an amazing learning experience. I have pushed myself to new limits physically and mentally, and I am so proud of how far we’ve come. I can’t thank my partner Brandon enough for being so supportive and believing in me. I also want to thank MAI fans who voted every week and I wish everyone else in the competition the best of luck!”
ABC and BBC Studios added in a statement to THR: “Jeannie has inspired us, along with millions of fans, with her energy and dedication. We wish her a full and speedy recovery. Since Jeannie had to withdraw from the competition, tonight’s show will feature the eight remaining couples and a single elimination.”
Mai danced with Brandon Armstrong on the 29th season of DWTS. In a video message, her pro dancing partner added, “We are devastated by the news that we’re gonna have to cut this season short, but Jeannie’s health does come first. Thank you to all the fans that have helped to get us this far and we are praying for a speedy recovery for Jeannie.”
The current season, hosted by Tyra Banks and filmed without an audience amid new COVID-19 era safety protocols, has the following eight stars still in competition for the Mirror Ball trophy: Backstreet Boys singer AJ McLean, Olympic figure skater Johnny Weir, Selling Sunset star Chrishell Stause, rapper Nelly, actress Justina Machado, Catfish host Nev Schulman, Disney Channel star Skai Jackson and former Bachelorette Kaitlyn Bristowe.
Nov. 2, 9 a.m. Updated with full Mai statement.
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