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13/02/2019 10:19 GMT | Updated 13/02/2019 16:02 GMT

Pasha Kovalev Quits Strictly Come Dancing After 8 Years

He says it's time for a "new challenge".

Strictly Come Dancing star Pasha Kovalev has announced that the 2018 series was his last as a professional dancer on the show.

Pasha confirmed his departure on his Twitter page on Wednesday morning, claiming he feels it’s time for a “new challenge”.

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Pasha Kovalev

He wrote: “I’ve had eight fantastic years, full of wonderful memories, thanks to the incredible partners, professionals and myriad of behind the scenes teams who all work to make Strictly the amazing production that it is.

“The biggest thanks go to all the members of the public who’ve supported me so much over these years – I look forward to seeing you on the Strictly Pro-Tour this spring, and for many future adventures to come!”

An official statement from Strictly said: “Pasha is an incredibly talented and dedicated dancer who is much loved by his Strictly family and viewers and will be hugely missed.

“We would like to thank him for everything he has contributed to the show over the years and wish him the very best for the future.”

Pasha joined Strictly in 2011, and has had a number of noteworthy partners over the years, including Countdown presenter Rachel Riley, with whom he would later start a romance, and TV personality Caroline Flack, who won the show back in 2014.

Last year, he was partnered with former Pussycat Dolls performer Ashley Roberts, who made it all the way to the final, but it was ultimately documentary host Stacey Dooley who went on to be crowned the public’s winner.

Strictly Come Dancing will return for its 17th series later in the year.

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