This Rare Condition Forced a Contestant to Withdraw From "DWTS"

One celebrity contestant had to leave the competition early after being hospitalized.

Dancing With the Stars has been a fan-favorite competition show since 2005. And week after week, viewers have to see some of their favorite celebs get eliminated until just one couple is left standing. However, one celebrity's competition was recently cut short, even though she hadn't been eliminated yet. After being diagnosed with epiglottitis, contestant Jeannie Mai was forced to withdraw from DWTS. Read on for more about this celebrity's diagnosis and television exit, and for more news from the show, find out what Tyra Banks Had to Say About Her Major Dancing With the Stars Gaffe.

Mai, a co-host of The Real, was partnered with pro-dancer Brandon Armstrong for Season 29 of DWTS, which premiered on Sept. 14. After almost being eliminated from the bottom two just a week prior, it was announced on Nov. 2 that Mai had withdrawn from the competition after being hospitalized for epiglottitis.

"My doctors discovered a health concern with my throat which requires immediate attention and surgery," Mai told Good Morning America on Nov. 2. "I am heartbroken that my DWTS journey has to end here."

dancing with the stars jeannie mai

Armstrong echoed this sadness in his statement, but made it clear that he valued Mai's health more than continuing the competition. "We are devastated by the news that we're going to have to cut this season short, but Jeannie's health does come first. Thank you to all the fans that have helped get us this far and we are praying for a speedy recovery from Jeannie," he said.

Week 8 of DWTS was originally going to be a double elimination episode, but only one contestant will be sent home this week following Mai's departure.

"Jeannie has inspired us, along with millions of fans, with her energy and dedication. We wish her a full and speedy recovery," show producers said in a statement. "Since Jeannie had to withdraw from the competition, tonight's show will feature the eight remaining couples and a single elimination."

Epiglottitis is a rare but potentially life-threatening infection, according to Harvard Medical. This infection causes sudden swelling of the epiglottis, which is the tissue right above the windpipe that controls the flow of air and food in the throat. If swelling causes the epiglottis to become too big, it can block the windpipe and make it hard to breathe, which can result in death. Many medical experts diagnosis this condition by looking for the "four D's"—keep reading to find out what symptoms to be aware of. And for more medical concerns, If You Use This Mouthwash, Get Rid of It Right Now.


Young adult man suffering from sore throat

One major symptom of epiglottitis is dysphagia. Dysphagia is the medical term for when someone is experiencing difficulty swallowing. And for more urgent medical news, find out which Commonly Prescribed Drug Has Just Been Recalled.


Male doctor checking throat of a female patient with the medical stick. Doctor checking a patients throat.

Another symptom of epiglottitis is dsyphonia—which is also a medical term for difficulty speaking. This is when someone has an impaired voice, typically described as hoarse, rough, raspy, strained, or weak. And for more useful content delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.


Girl wiping face with napkin after eating, hygiene and etiquette, happy client

Drooling is another symptom of epiglottitis. And according to the National Health Service (NHS), alongside difficulty swallowing, drooling is the most common symptom for adults and older children. And for other symptoms to look out for, These Are the Warning Signs of Throat Cancer You Need to Know.

(Respiratory) Distress

Young woman trying to breathe
pathdoc / Shutterstock

Respiratory distress is another symptom of epiglottitis, and one that may signal the need for emergency medical care. According to WebMD, this difficulty breathing alongside things like drooling, shortness of breath, rapid shallow breathing, ill appearance, and high-pitched sounds when inhaling means you need to seek professional help. And for more reasons you may need emergency medical care, This Common Activity Is Much More Dangerous Than You Think, Study Finds.

Filed Under