Cause of death revealed in death for ‘Dancing With The Stars’ judge Len Goodman
A series of tragic losses in the 'Dancing with the Stars' family have put the spotlight on the devastating effects of drug overdose and the quiet battle against prostate cancer.
The entertainment community was shaken when it learned about the accidental fentanyl overdose of Tytyana Miller, the daughter of season two contestant Master P and sister of season 12 participant Romeo Miller. Her loss in May 2022 was deeply mourned.
The issue of drug overdose was further emphasized with the tragic passing of Harrison Wagner. Jack Wagner, who participated in the 14th season of "Dancing With the Stars," finishing 11th with partner Anna Trebunskaya, is Harrison's father.
He and Kristina Wagner, who divorced in 2006, are also parents to son Peter. An interesting note is that Jack learned of a daughter named Kerry only when she reached her 20s, a story that was highlighted during his participation in the show.
In 2016, Harrison went missing for five days, highlighting his struggles with substance abuse. This was made public by his father, Jack, who tweeted about the ordeal. Harrison's life was tragically cut short on June 6, 2022, when he died at the age of 27.
According to a case report, he was found in a parking lot, and his death was initially listed as “deferred” by the LA County medical examiner. However, the final report disclosed the heartbreaking truth.
“Harrison Wagner’s cause of death was ruled an accidental overdose resulting from a lethal mix of fentanyl and alprazolam. The cause of death ruling was released on what would have been Harrison’s 28th birthday.”
After Harrison's passing, Jack and Kristina Wagner created the Harrison Wagner Scholarship Fund, aiming to assist those grappling with addiction. They remembered Harrison as a "bright, exuberant young man" and hoped the scholarship would help others facing similar challenges.
Surge in drug-related deaths
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2021, there were approximately 107,622 drug overdose deaths in the United States, Heavy reported.
Opioids like fentanyl accounted for over 80,000 of these fatalities. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) described fentanyl as a synthetic opioid much more potent than morphine. The DEA also alerted the public about the dangers of illegally manufactured fentanyl.
Yet, it wasn't just the dangers of substance abuse that impacted the "Dancing With the Stars" community. Len Goodman, a long-standing figure on the show, passed away unexpectedly earlier in the year, just three days before his 79th birthday. He was in hospice care and surrounded by family when he died.
"Len Goodman's official cause of death, as listed on his death certificate obtained by Daily Express, was 'metastatic prostate cancer.' The cancer had spread to his bones."
Remembrances and changes to the show
As Season 32 of "Dancing with the Stars" commenced, the details about Len Goodman's cause of death were unveiled. The show saw several significant changes, such as moving to a new night and streaming on ABC and Disney Plus, NY Post reported.
Many professionals, like Cheryl Burke, Sharna Burgess, and Lindsay Arnold, departed, but Lindsay's younger sister joined the dancers. The judges' table was reduced to three, and the Mirrorball Trophy was renamed the Len Goodman Mirrorball Trophy in honor of the late judge.
Tyra Banks left her hosting duties, and Julianne Hough alongside Alfonso Ribiero stepped in.
During the season, DWTS choreographed dances in tribute to Len Goodman, seeking to honor his memory. The renaming of the Mirrorball Trophy after him also showcased the immense respect and love the community had for him.
It's worth noting that Len Goodman had previously undergone surgery to remove prostate cancer in June 2009. He had retired from "Dancing with the Stars" after its 31st season.
Lessons to learn from this tragedy
- Open dialogues about addiction: Honest conversations can destigmatize addiction and encourage those struggling to seek help.
- Educate about drug risks: Understanding the lethal nature of certain drugs, like fentanyl, can save lives.
- Regular health check-ups: Regular screenings can help in early detection of diseases like prostate cancer.
- Support through grieving: Community support can provide comfort during times of loss.
The profound impact of these losses
The deaths of Tytyana Miller, Harrison Wagner, and Len Goodman serve as painful reminders of life's fragility. The "Dancing with the Stars" community, like many others, has faced its fair share of heartbreak, emphasizing the human side of celebrities we often view from afar.
Such losses deeply impact the entertainment world and its fans. They also drive conversations on topics that society sometimes shies away from, like drug addiction and cancer. In doing so, the hope is that awareness can lead to prevention and support.
By remembering and honoring those we've lost, communities can come together, offer solace, and hopefully inspire change for the better. After all, it's the love and shared memories that keep the legacies of the departed alive.