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Robin Windsor death: ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ pro ‘tragically’ dies, aged 44

Pro dancer was partnered with stars including Lisa Riley and Anita Dobson during time on BBC series

Jacob Stolworthy
Tuesday 20 February 2024 16:52 GMT
Robin Windsor and Lisa Riley on Strictly Come Dancing

Former Strictly Come Dancing professional dancer Robin Windsor has died aged 44.

Tributes are rolling in for the star, who joined the BBC competition in 2010, and participated in four series up until 2013. He was ultimately forced to step down after being left paralysed for four days due to a slipped disc.

However, he eventually made a special return for what would become the show’s first-ever same-sex dance, which he performed alongside Aljaz Skorjanec in 2014.

Windsor’s celebrity partners during his time on the show included Patsy Kensit, former EastEnders star Anita Dobson, Lisa Riley and Dragon’s Den tycoon Deborah Meaden. His highest placing came with actor Riley, when the pair finished fifth in 2012.

He also danced with DJ Sara Cox, This Morning’s Alison Hammond as well as Susanna Reid for numerous Strictly Christmas specials. Reid fought back tears while discussing Windsor’s death on Tuesday’s episode of Good Morning Britain.

News of Windsor’s death was first announced by the dance company he helped found, Burn the Floor, who said the dancer had “tragically passed away”.

Burn the Floor, which is one of the leading ballroom-based shows in the world, wrote on Facebook: “The BTF family has lost one of its founding members, Robin ‘Bobby’ Windsor – who has tragically passed away.

“A BTF journeyman, he danced with us for 20 years – including Broadway, the West End and all our crazy adventures around the world.”

Robin Windsor has died, aged 44, leading to tributes from former dance partners and fellow pros (Instagram)

The statement continued: “His talent, attitude, energy and personality helped create the Burn the Floor stage reputation. He leaves a void in our hearts that will never be filled, yet our wonderful memories will stay forever.”

Windor’s fellow ex-Strictly professional, James Jordan, paid tribute to the star, whom he called an “old friend”.

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“I had the pleasure of working with this man for many years on Strictly – I have such fond memories of him,” Jordan wrote on Instagram, adding: “He was always very caring and fun to be around. Everyone who came in contact with him adored him, from his celebrity partners to his working colleagues.”

Speaking about his decision to withdraw from Strictly in 2014, Windsor, who started dancing at the age of three, said: “I couldn’t risk going ahead. It was a heartbreaking decision but I had no choice.”

Robin Windsor was partnered with Lisa Riley on ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ in 2013 (BBC)

He said that, should he have suffered the slipped disc while he was dancing, he “could have ended up with permanent nerve damage and been in a wheelchair”.

During his time on Strictly, Windsor also performed alongside his fellow professional, Kristina Rihanoff – a partnership they continued with Burn the Floor.

Windsor, who was born in Ipswich, moved to London when he was 15 to pursue a career in dancing. The star, who once described himself as “the real-life Billy Elliot”, specialised in ballroom and latin, and went on to compete at the highest level globally. He represented England in numerous world championships, with considerable success.

Kristina Rihanoff and Robin Windsor during a ‘Strictly’ launch show (PA)

Most recently, Windsor appeared on stage for the Moulin Rouge tribute show Come What May.

Sisco Entertainment, which represented Windsor in various areas of theatre and corporate entertainment, described his work as “an embodiment of passion, grace and sheer talent. His extraordinary ability to express emotion through movement captivated audiences, leaving them spellbound with every step.

“Beyond his impeccable dancing, Robin’s vibrant spirit lit up the room, infusing rehearsals and performances with infectious energy and warmth. His laughter was contagious, his kindness boundless.

Robin Windsor performing with Patsy Kensit on ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ (PA)

As well as dancing, Windsor was known for his charity work, raising awareness for male cancer and LGBTQ+ equality. He also took part in the Greater Manchester Police’s campaign against domestic violence and, in 2013, hosted an auction raising money for HIV charities.

Paying tribute to Windsor on Good Morning Britain, an emotional Reid said: “Robin was larger than life. I fell in love with him and I fell in love with dancing when I danced with him back then.”

Windsor was previously in relationships with Davide Cini and Marcus Collins, the latter of whom featured on ITV reality competition The X Factor in 2011, mentored by Gary Barlow. The couple appeared on the cover of Gay Times together in 2014.

Collins can currently be seen as Andre in the West End production of Mrs Doubtfire at the Shaftesbury Theatre.

Windsor’s cause of death has not been disclosed.

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