Craig Revel Horwood won't share a public message about Darcey Bussell following her decision to leave "Strictly Come Dancing" - because "she's not dead".
The show judge cannot stop laughing at all the public "condolences" doing the rounds for the retired ballerina - who this week quit as a judge on the BBC One Latin and ballroom show - and insists the programme was "really honoured" to have someone of her calibre.
He said: "I've sent her a private message - unlike everyone else who sends their condolences as though she's dead! Which makes me laugh.
"She's not died, she's just left the show. She's got a life to lead - she's a Dame, she doesn't need it.
"Darcey is a prima ballerina - we were really honoured to have her. That's really important. That we had someone of her calibre on the show."
Craig admits he is "shocked" and "really sad" about Darcey's decision, and will "really" miss her, especially on the "Strictly" tour.
He said: "She's done seven years and she loves it and she has a great time.
"It's going to be really sad seeing her go, obviously, because I love sitting next to her and I don't know who's going to take her place - no idea. But it's a good thing she wants to do other things.
"I'm shocked as well because she was one of my best mates, especially on the tour, we had such a fantastic time. I'm really going to miss her."
While he is unsure who might step into Darcey's shoes, Craig would be happy for "Strictly" professional Anton Du Beke or former pro Karen Hardy to take on the judging reins, but joked "X Factor" boss Simon Cowell might even like a go at the role.
Speaking to the Daily Mirror newspaper, he quipped: "It'll probably be someone we haven't considered - like Simon Cowell."
Darcey announced on Wednesday (10.04.19) she has left "Strictly", and insisted she isn't departing the programme due to "any upset or disagreement", but she simply wants to focus on her "many other commitments in dance".
The 49-year-old star - who became a full-time judge on the show's 10th series in 2012 - said in a statement: "It has been a complete privilege for me to be part of "Strictly", working with such a talented team.
"I have enjoyed every minute of my time and will miss everyone from my fellow judges, the presenters, the dancers, the musicians, the entire back stage team, and especially the viewers of the show, who have been so supportive.
"I am not leaving because of any upset or disagreement at all, I am just stepping away to give more focus to my many other commitments in dance, after seven truly wonderful years that I can't imagine having gone any better."