Will Bayley broke down in tears after pulling out of Strictly Come Dancing due to injury, saying it was “more than just a show” to him.
The Paralympian, 31, has left the competition after injuring his knee during rehearsals last week.
Speaking on spin-off show It Takes Two, Bayley said he had not wanted his turn on the dancefloor to end this way.
“I wouldn’t mind properly ending it, even if we went out next week or something, I just didn’t want to end it like this,” he said.
Thanking his professional partner Janette Manrara, he said: “I came into this show so scared of dancing.
“I was really scared of embarrassing myself. But she believed in me.”
Tearfully, he told host Zoe Ball: “To me, it meant more than just a show, because I just wanted to try and help people as well.”
Bayley said he had been “loving every single second” of his time on the programme.
“I’m just really gutted because we had such a good run and I was loving it,” he said.
“It’s all been a bit… everything has happened so fast. So it’s like, shocking, as well.”
The star hurt his leg jumping off a table during rehearsals.
He said his knee was “getting there”.
“It’s just not ready to dance on at all,” he said.
“If I could, I really would, I really would, but it’s just not ready for it.”
Manrara said she was “super gutted” as she felt that Bayley was getting better and better every week.
But she added: “All that I have in my heart at the moment is so many incredibly awesome moments that I shared with Will.”
“I genuinely feel like I’ve made a friend for life in him,” she said.
Earlier, Strictly’s executive producer Sarah James said in a statement: “We are so sad that Will is unable to continue on the show.
“He is an incredible and talented person who has brought us some unforgettable moments this series – in particular his powerful and moving couple’s choice routine.
“He will be greatly missed and we wish him a speedy recovery.”