Strictly Come Dancing‘s Brendan Cole is to take a break from the series following the death of his father from cancer.

The Daily Mail reports that he New Zealand born dancer – who is partnering Michelle Williams on the show – will miss next Saturday’s edition after flying out to his home town of Christchurch to be with his family.

He received the news that his father Eddie had passed away just hours before he was due to perform on Saturday night – but kept the news secret until after he and Michelle had performed their rumba.

Michelle – who is due to perform the tango on next weekend’s show – will be partnered by former Strictly dancer Ian Waite until Cole returns from New Zealand.

It is thought he will return to the dancefloor the following week.

“Brendan is incredibly disciplined and always professional,” a friend of the dancer told the paper, “so he went out on the dancefloor on Saturday night.

“He didn’t tell any of the contestants, I think he was just in a state of shock. His father had been ill for quite a while but Brendan is of course devastated.”

The news comes just days after Anne Widdecombe’s brother, Canon Malcolm Widdecombe, died of cancer. However the former MP still performed on Saturday’s show after being urged to do so by her family.