04/05/2017 14:01 BST | Updated 05/05/2017 10:47 BST

'Strictly Come Dancing' Professional Natalie Lowe Quits After Seven Years

'My time on the programme has been everything that I dreamed it would be and more.'

Natalie Lowe has announced her departure from ‘Strictly Come Dancing’

The professional dancer has decided she will not appear on the upcoming series, after seven years on the BBC ballroom show. 

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Natalie Lowe is leaving 'Strictly Come Dancing'

In a statement, Natalie admitted it had been a difficult decision, as she also thanked the ‘Strictly’ team. 

“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 (via The Mirror). 

“It is with a very heavy heart that I have arrived at this decision.

“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.”

A ‘Strictly’ spokesperson also added to HuffPost UK: “Everyone at ‘Strictly’ wishes Natalie the best.” 

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Natalie partnered Greg Rutherford last year

Natalie partnered Olympian Greg Rutherford on last year’s ‘Strictly’, and has also danced with Ainsley Harriot, Ricky Whittle and Scott Maslen

She joined the show back in its seventh series in 2009, having previously been a professional on the Australian version, which she won in 2006 with AFL footballer Anthony Koutoufides.

‘Strictly’ bosses are yet to confirm Natalie’s replacement, with the full line-up of professional dancers not expected to be announced until later this year. 

Producers are currently on the hunt for a new Head Judge, after Len Goodman stepped down from the panel at the end of the last series. 

However, it seems like their search could nearly be over, as reports have suggested one person is very close to landing the job

‘Strictly Come Dancing’ returns to BBC One this autumn. 

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