AJ Odudu has had to pull out of the Strictly Come Dancing final after suffering ligament damage to her ankle.
The TV presenter had been unable to rehearse with partner Kai Widdrington for most of the week and has now confirmed that she won't be taking part in tomorrow night's live final.
Odudu said: “I'm deeply upset that I am unable to perform in the final due to a torn ligament in my right ankle.
Sadly due to injury AJ and Kai have had to withdraw from #Strictly and won’t compete in tomorrow’s final. We want to thank them for 13 incredible weeks on the show and the pure joy they brought to the dance floor every week. ❤️ https://t.co/DlCFHiEAMc pic.twitter.com/S4K142aerd
— BBC Strictly ✨ (@bbcstrictly) December 17, 2021
"Learning to dance over the last 13 weeks has been an incredible honour and to do it alongside someone as special, patient and devoted as Kai is something I'll treasure forever.
"Thank you to the Strictly family for the experience, the medical team for trying to get me back on my feet and mostly, to everyone at home for watching and supporting. You've made this experience one to remember.
"Strictly Come Dancing has been a lifelong dream and I'm glad it came true. Good luck to my partners in dance, John and Johannes and Rose and Giovanni. I will be cheering you on (on one leg!)."
Widdrington added: “I’ve been absolutely honoured to get to dance with the incredible AJ Odudu for the last few months and although neither of us wanted our journey to end this way, AJ’s health and safety are by far the most important things.
"I want to thank AJ for being the absolute best partner I could ever have asked for in my first year on the show and I will always treasure the memories of dancing in the Strictly ballroom with her. I know we will be friends for life and I will be there for her through her recovery in whatever way I can.
"I want to wish good luck to John and Johannes and Rose and Giovanni for the final. And finally the biggest thank you to everyone who voted for us throughout the series, your support has been unforgettable.”
Earlier in the week, speaking to Yahoo and other media with her ankle bandaged up Odudu had said: "We have missed a lot of training because I can't stand up, I'm on crutches and I'm doing everything I can to try and be there on Saturday night."
She and Widdrington had become known for their strong chemistry on the dancefloor, with an intense moment at the end of their Argentine Tango leaving viewers wondering whether they were about to kiss.
Odudu had been praised by the judges for developing to a close to professional standard, while Widdrington had reached the final in his first series on the show as a pro dancer.
This is so sad. AJ and Kai were so brilliant in last week's show, they would have made the final so more exciting than it will be without them. They are both winners in my book! Get well soon AJ #StrictlyComeDancing
— Mary Sheridan 💙 (@MarypSheridan) December 17, 2021
My heart breaks for them as I know that they have worked incredibly hard to make it to the final.
Wishing @AJOdudu a speedy recovery.
She should be incredibly proud of what she has achieved!
— Libby 🌙✨ (@itslibbymai) December 17, 2021
Oh this is heartbreaking! I was so wishing they'd pull through 😔
Thank you so so much for everything you guys have given the competition and for being such a brilliant duo! So much love to the both of you ❤
Rest well AJ, your health is the priority!
— Sia. 🤜🏽🤛🏽🍉 (@Sias_Creations) December 17, 2021
Sarah James, Strictly Come Dancing executive producer, said: “AJ may not be able to compete in the final but she is and always will be one of the most brilliant Strictly finalists we have ever had. We cannot thank her enough for fully embracing the experience and being a total delight both on and off the dance floor.
"AJ and Kai are a wonderful partnership and have performed some unforgettable routines over the last few months. Although this is not how we would have wanted her Strictly journey to end, AJ’s health and wellbeing come first and everyone involved in the show send her all our love and wish her a speedy recovery.”
Rose Ayling-Ellis and her partner Giovanni Pernice, and John Whaite and his partner Johannes Radebe will still compete in tomorrow night's final, due to air at 7pm on BBC One.
Watch: Who is Strictly's AJ Odudu?