Jeannie Mai Hospitalized and Forced to Withdraw from Dancing with the Stars: 'I Am Heartbroken'
The Real co-host, 41, has been hospitalized and forced to withdraw from season 29 of the ABC dance competition series, Good Morning America reported on Monday morning. She was diagnosed with epiglottitis, which "is a potentially life-threatening condition that occurs when the epiglottis — a small cartilage 'lid' that covers your windpipe — swells, blocking the flow of air into your lungs," according to Mayo Clinic.
In a statement to PEOPLE Mai confirmed the news and said, "It saddens me that I will not be able to continue with the competition on DWTS. My doctors discovered a health concern with my throat which requires immediate attention and surgery."
"I am heartbroken that my DWTS journey has to end here. The last several weeks have been an amazing learning experience. I have pushed myself to new limits physically and mentally, and I am so proud of how far we’ve come," she said. "I can't thank my partner Brandon enough for being so supportive and believing in me. I also want to thank MAI fans who voted every week and I wish everyone else in the competition the best of luck!"
Mai's pro dancing partner, Brandon Armstrong, said in a video message to GMA, "We are devastated by the news that we're gonna have to cut this season short, but Jeannie's health does come first. Thank you to all the fans that have helped to get us this far and we are praying for a speedy recovery for Jeannie."
A rep for the ABC series told PEOPLE in a statement: "Jeannie has inspired us, along with millions of fans, with her energy and dedication. We wish her a full and speedy recovery. Since Jeannie had to withdraw from the competition, tonight’s show will feature the eight remaining couples and a single elimination. We will still have the relay dances and Tyra will explain how the judging and points work in the show."
During last week's Villains Night, Mai, dressed as Hannibal Lector, and Armstrong, 40, danced the paso doble to Nelly Furtado’s “Maneater.” Their spooky routine earned a score of 25 out of 30 from the judges.
While judge Derek Hough saved Aldama and Chmerkovskiy, Bruno Tonioli and Carrie Ann Inaba picked Mai and Armstrong to keep around for one more week, thus sending Aldama and Chmerkovskiy home.
So far this season, Vernon Davis, Jesse Metcalfe, Anne Heche, Carole Baskin and Charles Oakley have also been eliminated.
Remaining in the competition is Backstreet Boys' AJ McLean, Olympic figure skater Johnny Weir, Selling Sunset’s Chrishell Stause, rapper Nelly, actress Justina Machado, Catfish host Nev Schulman, Disney Channel star Skai Jackson, and The Bachelorette's Kaitlyn Bristowe.
Dancing with the Stars airs Mondays (8 p.m. ET) on ABC.