Fox News confirmed TV host Jeannie Mai, 41, ended her storied run after she was diagnosed with epiglottitis and was recently hospitalized.
“It saddens me that I will not be able to continue with the competition on ‘DWTS,'” Mai said in a statement. “My doctors discovered a health concern with my throat which requires immediate attention and surgery. I am heartbroken that my ‘DWTS’ journey has to end here.”
The condition is potentially life-threatening, as the tissue in the windpipe becomes inflamed and can block airflow to the lungs, according to Mayo Clinic.
Jeannie Mai was diagnosed with epiglottitis and recently hospitalized. (ABC/Laretta Houston)
Many on the show immediately showered Mai with well-wishes and newcomer host Tyra Banks told Entertainment Tonight she was “very caught by surprise” at the announcement from “The Real” talk show co-host.
“I think she’s one of the strongest dancers here. She’s so effervescent, so warm and so sweet,” Banks, 46, told the outlet on Monday. “Even just running into her in the hallways here, we were social distanced so we have to keep walking while we talk, but there’s always these moments and I felt very connected to her. So I’m very sad.”
The former “America’s Next Top Model” host and judge added that Mai, who is currently engaged to Grammy-nominated rapper and actor Jeezy, 43, had shown no signs that anything was amiss and simply brought her all every day on the show.
“When you see someone and they’re doing great, they’re doing fine, and then hearing something like this, it’s just very sad,” said Banks. “No, not at all. Which is so interesting. Didn’t hear anything, see anything. Nope. Nothing.”
‘Dancing With the Stars’ host Tyra Banks said she was ‘very caught by surprise’ amid news Jeannie Mai was leaving the show. (Eric McCandless/ABC via Getty Images)
Banks also confirmed to Entertainment Tonight that Monday’s episode will no longer be a double-elimination and that only one tandem of dancers will be sent packing.
Mai and her professional dance partner, Brandon Armstrong, were scheduled to perform the Viennese Waltz relay during the show for the “Relay Dances” genre, which will now only be performed by two couples – Johnny Weir and Britt Stewart and Justina Machado and Sasha Farber.
The other Relay Dance challenges will be 3-on-3.
“There are a lot of little, tiny changes that the team alerted me on,” Tyra explained of how the show will go on following the abrupt departure of Mai. “They’re a very good team and so when something happens, they adjust. Of course, this is not an easy adjustment because emotionally we’re all just like, ‘Whoa.’ But they’re gonna make it work.”
‘Dancing with the Stars’ stars Jeannie Mai and Brandon Armstrong. (ABC/Laretta Houston)
“Yesterday, I took a hard fall while rehearsing for #VillainsNight,” she announced. “Even though AJ kills me at the end of this Tango, this wasn’t part of the routine. It’s one of those things that can happen in a split second.”
“Keeping our fingers crossed for only planned mishaps during the show tonight!!” she wrote. “#TeamPrettyMessedUp.”
Fox News’ Jessica Napoli contributed to this report.