As Mai revealed to Good Morning America on Monday, she has been diagnosed with epiglottitis, an inflammatory and potentially life-threatening condition of the throat that can cause swelling and block air to the lungs. She has since been hospitalized to address the diagnosis.
“My doctors discovered a health concern with my throat which requires immediate attention and surgery,” Mai said in a statement. “I am heartbroken that my DWTS journey has to end here. I have pushed myself to new limits, physically and mentally, and I am so proud of how far we’ve come.” (Mai was paired with pro dancer Brandon Armstrong, who added that he is “devastated” over their early exit, “but Jeannie’s health does come first.”)
Dancing With the Stars also confirmed Mai’s departure in a tweet on Monday, which read, “Jeannie has inspired us, along with millions of fans, with her energy and dedication. We wish her a full and speedy recovery.”
Though tonight’s Dancing broadcast (ABC, 8/7c) was slated to end with a double elimination, only one couple will now be sent home due to Mai’s premature exit.
Mai, a co-host on syndicated talk show The Real and sideline reporter for ABC’s Holey Moley, had emerged as a serious contender for Dancing‘s Mirrorball trophy. Her highest score from the judges — a 25 out of 30 — came in Week 6 and Week 7, when she respectively performed an emotional rumba and a Silence of the Lambs-inspired paso doble.