Tony Dovolani and Kim Zolciak-Biermann's quest for the mirrorball trophy was cut short. The Dancing With the Stars pair were dropped from the competition after Kim's mini-stroke kept her from hitting the dance floor in Los Angeles.
"This is a very unusual circumstance. It's still a competition. The rules state, and these are rules we've had since 2005 when we started the show, and I'm quoting form them, 'In the instance of illness or other health-related matters affecting a participants ability to participate in the game, they must withdraw," host Tom Bergeron said.
Kim was not given the clearance to fly from her doctors, but she did rehearse and learn the dance, she said.
"We didn't know until Tom announced it," Tony told E! News. "I didn't know, but when Tom hugged me, I knew right away." Tony said he had to keep his eyes averted from old friend and guest judge Alfonso Ribeiro to keep from getting emotional.
"I think that at the end of the day she's got to take care of her health," Alfonso told E! News. "I don't care what the circumstance is; she's got six kids. She's got a wonderful husband. She needs to be around for them."
Tony, who was with Kim in the hospital, said health comes first. "I know what I saw, so there was no way she was going to be able to fly. Until the doctors clear you to fly, you should never…don't screw around with that…I will say this to all the women and men out there, it doesn't matter what age you are: If you are about to go into something that is physically strenuous, go check yourself out and make sure the doctor clears you before you do it," he said.
"In a winner regardless! I have the most incredible husband (thanks for being my rock) and 6 AMAZING kids! #BringKimandTonyBack," Kim tweeted, along with several messages from fans urging the dance couple to talk to Dancing With the Stars lawyers.
Tony had one final message for Kim. "To her I send my support, my heart, my love to her family. Just stay strong and just get through this, literally. Just get through this," he said. "Make sure you listen to the doctors."
Dancing With the Stars airs Mondays, 8 p.m. on ABC.