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Cheryl Burke Departs ‘Dancing With the Stars’ After 26 Seasons  

Cheryl Burke will dance for the last time as a pro on Dancing with the Stars Monday night.

The dancer and host on the long-running reality series, which sees celebrities paired with pro-partners and compete to be the season’s winner, announced her departure in an Instagram post on Sunday.

“Tomorrow night will officially be my final dance as a pro dancer on @dancingwiththestars,” she wrote. “This has been one of the absolute hardest decisions of my life [and] I am also confident that it is the right one.”

Burke, who joined the show in 2006 during its second season when she was just 21 years old, said that the departure comes as she looks to “begin the next phase of my career.”

“I am excited about the idea of evolving, about being challenged in new ways, having the ability to expand my commitment to mental health advocacy, focusing on my new found love for podcasting, & I’m ready to face the uncertainty (though it’s scary as sh**) of what the future holds,” she wrote before adding, “I do have a few things up my sleeves though, so don’t worry.”

The dancer called the series her “second family” and an integral part of her formation as a person, with it having seen her through her “highest highs” and “lowest lows.” After encouraging fans to tune into “tomorrow’s finale” for her farewell dance, she expressed she anticipates tears.

“I’m honestly not sure how I’m going to get through it without tears but even with the heartache & emotions, I am grateful to have the opportunity to perform this dance & do so with two of my favorite male pros to dance with, @pashapashkov & @louisvanamstel.”

The first DWTS pro to win twice and consecutively, Burke appeared on 25 of the show’s 31 seasons, the latest of which saw the long-running production move from ABC to Disney+. She also appeared on one season of the show’s Juniors spin-off.

Burke scored her first mirror ball win alongside 98 Degrees member Drew Lachey in the show’s second season before winning her second with retired football star Emmitt Smith in season three, going on to be a frequent face in the show’s semi-final rounds.

Burke previously took a break from the show following season 19 but returned to the show to compete again starting with season 23. From there she would appear off and off through several seasons, eventually being partnered with Good Morning America meteorologist Sam Champion for the show’s latest season and her last.

Several stars congratulated Burke on her run with the show and feature endeavors in the replies of her announcement. That includes Jewel, Jordan Sparks, Amanda Kloots and Derek Hough. In the comments, the dancer also thanked various members of her DWTS family, including her long list of former dancer partners which includes Ryan Lochte, Rob Kardashian, Ian Ziering and Drew Carey.

“It’s been a wild ride,” Hough wrote. “So proud of all you have achieved and overcome. Forever left your mark on Dwts. It’s been a pleasure.”

Burke’s departure announcement comes less than a week after another Dancing With the Stars mainstay, judge Len Goodman, announced he was also leaving the show.

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