“It saddens me that I will not be able to continue with the competition on DWTS,” Jeannie Mai, 41, said in a statement to HollywoodLife. “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 news was first announced during Good Morning America, just hours before the new episode of Dancing With the Stars.
The Real co-host was hospitalized after being diagnosed with epiglottitis. Epiglottitis is a potentially life-threatening condition that occurs when the epiglottis, which is a small cartilage “lid” that covers your windpipe — swells and blocks the flow of air into your lungs, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Despite having to leave DWTS prematurely, Jeannie is so thankful for the incredible experience the show has been for her. “The last several weeks have been an amazing learning experience,” Jeannie’s statement continued. “I have pushed myself to new limits physically and mentally, and I am so proud of how far we’ve come. I can’t thank my partner Brandon [Armstrong] enough for being so supportive and believing in me. I also want to thank MAI fans who voted every week and I wish everyone else in the competition the best of luck!”
Jeannie was set to compete in the Viennese waltz relay dance with Brandon alongside Justina Machado and Sasha Farber, as well as Johnny Weir and Britt Stewart. ABC and BBC Studios released the following statement about Jeannie’s departure: “Jeannie has inspired us, along with millions of fans, with her energy and dedication. We wish her a full and speedy recovery. Since Jeannie had to withdraw from the competition, tonight’s show will feature the eight remaining couples and a single elimination.”
Jeannie had been one of the celebrity contestants who improved every single week. During Villains Week, which ended up being Jeannie’s last week of the competition, Jeannie and Brandon earned a 25 out of 30 for their paso doble. The week before, Jeannie and Brandon also got a 25 out of 30.
The pair narrowly escaped elimination during Villains Night. They found themselves in the bottom two with Monica Aldama and Val Chmerkovskiy. However, the judges decided to save Jeannie and Brandon. Dancing With the Stars airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on ABC.