Jason Donovan has become the latest star to withdraw from Dancing On Ice.
The Australian actor and singer, 52, announced the news in a video on Facebook, saying it was due to an “ongoing back issue that occurred on Dancing On Ice about 10 days ago”.
He added: “Unfortunately I can’t continue in the competition, and therefore have to withdraw. It’s a nightmare and I’m completely gutted.
“We put so much work into getting to this point but I have to respect my health and respect my body moving forward. That is my biggest priority moving forward.”
Donovan, who skated alongside professional partner Alexandra Schauman, had already missed a week of the competition due to back pain.
After thanking the celebrity contestants, presenting team and crew, Donovan added: “Most importantly I want to thank Alex, my dance partner, who has been absolutely a beacon of support. She has believed in me when at times I didn’t even believe in myself.
“She has been patient and that time we have spent together on the ice rehearsing and getting these little routines together has just been… That to me is what this whole experience has been about. And that friendship I have with her goes beyond the show.”
An ITV spokeswoman said: “Jason Donovan has brought us so much joy with his performances on Dancing On Ice – from Priscilla through to the tango. Our thanks go to Jason and his partner Alex for being so wonderful and committed to the series. We’re sorry to see them leave and we wish Jason a speedy recovery.”
Last week the celebrity skating competition took a week-long break after a number of contestants suffered injuries or contracted coronavirus.
Emmerdale star Joe-Warren Plant and his professional skating partner Vanessa Bauer pulled out of the competition after testing positive for coronavirus, as did comedian Rufus Hound.
Reality TV star Billie Shepherd also left the show early after injuring herself in a fall, while actress and singer Denise Van Outen withdrew after she partially dislocated her shoulder during training.
Singer Myleene Klass, former skier Graham Bell and comedian Matt Richardson have been eliminated from the competition.