Aljaž Škorjanec quits Strictly Come Dancing after nine years on BBC show

Strictly Come Dancing professional Aljaž Škorjanec has announced his decision to leave the BBC show.

Taking to his Instagram account, the 30 year old, who joined the series in 2013, told fans that he'd come to the tough decision to bow out of the hit series.

In an emotional post, Slovenian star Aljaž, who is married to former Strictly professional turned It Takes Two host Janette Manrara, wrote: "On a beautiful sunny day in May 2013 one phone call changed my life forever!

"It went like this… We would like to offer you a position on @bbcstrictly as a professional dancer. A dream became a reality and it was the biggest opportunity for a 23 year old boy from Slovenia.

"It didn’t matter how many beautiful ballrooms I performed in during my competitive career, stepping onto the sacred Strictly floor was the most nervous I had ever been.

The popular star, who won the show in 2013 alongside Abbey Clancy, continued: "A little while ago I made the tough decision that Strictly 2021 would be my last.

"The show has given me an opportunity and freedom to create and express myself in front of millions of people every weekend for the last 9 years.

"The love and support I got from the team of producers was second to none. @jasongilkison, @sarahjamesface, @kimwinston, @jack.will.g are just a few of the unsung heroes behind the success of the show – I am forever grateful to them!"

Aljaž went on to give a special shout out to his co-stars, describing them as the "best" in the business.

He said: "Being a part of a group of professionals that inspire and push you to be better every step of the way is humbling and I will carry that inspiration with me forever.

"Every year the lineup of dancers would change but one thing stayed the same, WE WERE THE BEST! And this is one thing that I know will never change on Strictly!"

Alongside a snap of him dancing alongside all of his celebrity partners from over the years, including Alison Hammond and last year's Sara Davies, Aljaž said he had made friends for life.

He added: "My beautiful partners.. It's hard to put into words how many beautiful memories we have had. I LOVE YOU ALL!"

He also included a special tribute to his wife Janette in his post, crediting her with giving him some of his best moments on the famous BBC dance floor.

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The dancer referred to her using a sweet nickname, saying: "To my bucka.. from picking songs, creating stories and choreographing steps we always did it as a team.

"Your talent and selflessness knows no bounds. We got to perform with Andrea Bocelli, Michael Buble, Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift, BBC Symphony Orchestra.. moments I will keep in my heart forever. I LOVE YOU!"

Aljaž rounded off the post with his biggest thank you of all – to the Strictly Come Dancing viewers who tune in week after week and always show their support.

The star said: "And finally, thank YOU, the people that watch Strictly who have been so kind to me all these years. Every comment, vote, kind message never went unnoticed. You are the reason we all do it, thank you!

"I have lots of exciting stuff planned that I will fill you in on soon. I can't wait to see what the future holds!"

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