Dorothy Hamill Leaves 'DWTS' Season 16 Due To Spine Injury

03/26/2013 10:09 pm ET | Updated May 26, 2013

The Olympic figure skater tearfully announced that due to her spine injury, her doctors advised her to leave the Season 16 competition.

"I have taken the advice of my spine surgeon and I need to withdraw from the competition," Hamill told "DWTS" co-hosts Tom Bergeron and Brooke Burke-Charvet with a smile though her eyes welled up. "I have an injury that could be irreparable nerve damage and it would be completely unfair for me to stay in this and have any of these people go home. I can't do what I need to and the rest of life, you know, physical, as an athlete, is important. I can't do [pro partner Tristan MacManus] justice and these are the most amazing people who want to be here. It's not that I don't want to be here, but I wish I could give it my all and I can't."

Judge Carrie Ann Inaba said, "I'm sad. I admire you for taking care of yourself. You're setting a very good example."

The audience was on its feet for Hamill, which included her husband John MacColl and her daughter Alexandra Forsythe, who were also teary-eyed.

"It's been a wonderful ride. I wish I could stay," Hamill said before being embraced by the other "DWTS" castmembers. "I just feel so lucky I was part of it for a short time."

During a package before her jive on Monday, the 56-year-old breast cancer survivor said, "I just don't know if my body's going to let me continue dancing." Hamill has a synovial cyst in her lumbar spine, she explained to reporters after the Monday night performances.

I don’t give up,” she told TV Guide. “I made the commitment to do the show and I love it. And as long as I'm not doing anything to make things worse, I want to continue. I really want to learn how to dance and I don't want to leave."

Are you sad to see Dorothy Hamill leave "DWTS"? Share your thoughts in the comments.

"Dancing With The Stars" airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET and Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.

"Dancing With The Stars" Season 16 Cast

Also on HuffPost: