Dancing With the Star: All Starshost Brooke Burke-Charvet entered the ballroom Monday night on Tom Bergeron's arm, then walked over to Carrie Ann Inaba, who was seated at the judges' table. As the studio audience clapped, the two exchanged a prolonged, wordless hug.
But after that, you would never have known that Burke-Charvet, 41, had revealed in a blog post last week that she has been diagnosed with thyroid cancer and is facing life-saving surgery. There's no word yet on when and where the surgery will take place, but ABC confirms that she will continue to co-host the show through the finale, which airs the last week of November. Says one rep, "She'll probably release more videos, in her own time, to explain what's going on."
Backstage, the dancers said Burke-Charvet's diagnosis put their own struggles with injuries and the relentless demands of the show in perspective. "I think it's a reminder to everybody right now who's knee-deep in dancing that there are bigger issues in the world," Melissa Rycroft says. "At the end of the day, this is just a dance competition." Added Apolo Anton Ohno, "For her to make it public just signifies what a strong person she is. She's got all the support of everyone here."
Burke-Charvet, who has four children and is married to actor David Charvet, is staying positive. "I went to her dressing room this morning, and she was being strong for me," said pro Tony Dovolani. "She assured me that she was okay, that she was going to deal with this. I was in awe of the way she handled it, how classy she is and how strong. But when I walked away, I thought, 'What else would you expect from Brooke?'"
All of her colleagues are rooting for her. "It's very daunting, what she's going to pull through," says Mark Ballas. "I'm praying for her. She means the world to all of us."