“The Real” tv host Jeannie Mai says goodbye to “Dancing With the Stars” after being diagnosed with epiglottitis, a potentially life-threatening condition commonly caused by an infection that causes swelling and blocks air to the lungs. “My doctors discovered a health concern with my throat, which requires immediate attention and surgery,” she told “Good Morning America” in a statement. “I am heartbroken that my DWTS journey has to end here.” According to Mai, although this is the end of her journey in the competition, she is proud of her accomplishments. ”I have pushed myself to new limits physically and mentally, and I am so proud of how far we’ve come,” she added.
Her partner in the competition, dancer Brandon Armstrong wished Jeannie the best. “We are devastated by the news that we’re going to have to cut this season short, but Jeannie’s health does come first,” Armstrong said. “Thank you to all the fans that have helped get us this far, and we are praying for a speedy recovery from Jeannie.”
The “Dancing With the Stars” executives and staff members also released a statement. “Jeannie has inspired us, along with millions of fans, with her energy and dedication. We wish her a full and speedy recovery,” they said. “Since Jeannie had to withdraw from the competition, tonight’s show will feature the eight remaining couples and a single elimination.”
The other competitors solidarized with Mai and took social media to send her positive vibes and love. “We all love you so much @thejeanniemai,” wrote actress and reality tv star Chrishell Stause. Skai Jackson said they all would miss her, while Kaitlyn Bristowe recalled the great moments she had with Mai. “Jeannie is a freaking LIGHT. She sat next to me in the balcony, and I always knew she would keep me smiling up there,” Bristowe wrote on Instagram. “Speedy recovery for sure girl. We love you so much and I’m going to genuinely miss watching you dance.”
Cheerleader’s coach Monica Aldama, which was sent home after being in the bottom two with Jeannie Mai and Brandon Armstrong last week, said she is looking forward to hugging Mai once she is recovered. “My girl @thejeanniemai - I’m sending you the biggest hugs from Texas,” she wrote. ”Praying for a safe and speedy recovery so I can give you that hug in person. Love you!!!”
According to “Good Morning America,” ABC News chief medical correspondent, Dr. Jennifer Ashton, confirmed the severity of the diagnosis and its consequences if not treated accordingly. “It is a true, life-threatening medical emergency,” Ashton said. “The majority of [epiglottitis] is caused by a severe bacterial infection. Luckily, it is uncommon.” The expert also revealed epiglottitis could be diagnosed if a person is experiencing “the four D’s”: Difficulty swallowing, difficulty speaking, drooling, and distress. “If these signs or symptoms are present, this is [call] 911, get to the emergency room, and, in some cases, an emergency surgical procedure to provide an alternate airway is required,” said Ashton.