Maksim Chmerkovskiy has explained why he won't be appearing on Dancing with the Stars' upcoming sixteenth season.

"I just want to set the record straight to all of my amazing fans that I will unfortunately not be returning for this season of Dancing with the Stars," the pro dancer said in a statement obtained by People after Dancing with the Stars host Tom Bergeron and co-host Brooke Burke announced the new sixteenth-season cast of celebrities and their professional partners live on ABC's Good Morning America this morning.
"I've been a pro dancer on the show for about seven years now and am eager to explore other opportunities that have been made possible because of Dancing with the Stars. I'm going to take this time to dive into producing and acting, while fulfilling my sponsorship obligations. A big thank you to all of my fans for your never-ending support. I also want to thank the entire cast and production of Dancing with the Stars."

Chmerkovskiy -- who has competed in thirteen of Dancing with the Stars' prior seasons but never won --  had previously announced he planned to leave the show when his contract expired after Season 17.

His absence will be especially felt by his younger brother and fellow pro dancer Val Chmerkovskiy, who joined Dancing with the Stars three seasons ago and will be returning for his fourth season when it premieres on March 18.

"This has been such a big part of [Maksim's] life and such a big part of our family's life the last seven years," Val told People. "It's obviously sad to see him not be a part of it, but it's an open-ended finish. My brother and Dancing with the Stars have a very good relationship. For the fact that they're allowing him to do his thing and discover his other talents and passions and acting, I'm happy. Everybody's happy, everybody's positive."

In addition to Maksim, fellow veteran Dancing with the Stars professionals Chelsie Hightower, Anna Trebunskaya and Louis van Amstel are also notably missing from the sixteenth season's lineup. However, their absences appear to only be temporary. 

"We frequently rotate the professional dancers, so it is not unusual for them to rest a cycle," a show representative explained.

"As we consider who will be matched up each season, there are a lot of factors that dictate which couples make the best pairings. We appreciate each of our dancers' dedication to the show, so this is a very difficult decision. Anna, Chelsie, Louis and Maks continue to be a part of the Dancing with the Stars family."

While Chmerkovskiy reportedly opted to quit the show, Hightower recently revealed she was not asked to participate in Dancing with the Stars' sixteenth season.

"Not my choice... Sometimes we take breaks, seasons off," she told TMZ this weekend. 

About The Author: Elizabeth Kwiatkowski
Elizabeth Kwiatkowski is Associate Editor of Reality TV World and has been covering the reality TV genre for more than a decade.