Dorothy Hamill departed "Dancing with the Stars" on Tuesday night and the ice skating legend says the decision to leave the show, due to a dangerous spine injury (only two weeks into the competition!), was heartbreaking.
"[I thought] if I'd have gotten through tonight, I could limp along and maybe feel a little better and maybe learn some steps," Dorothy told Access Hollywood's Shaun Robinson following Tuesday night's elimination show. "As much as I'd love to do that, the pain isn't getting better -- [it's] something that needs to be taken care of.
"My doctor said, 'I wanted you to [quit] four days ago but I knew you wouldn't,' and it just isn't right to sort of string people along," she continued. "And I know that I could never be at the level I'd like to. So, [I] put everybody out of their misery."
Dorothy revealed she'd be leaving the reality series during the last five minutes of Tuesday night's show, prompting Shaun to ask why the skater waited so long to announce her exit.
"I made the decision this morning," Dorothy said. "And I of course wanted to do whatever was best for the show and that was their suggestion. I just wanted to be able to tell people that it's not a bad day, I want to go home, it's something that my doctor really didn't want me to do. But I wanted to work with the producers."
As for her treatment program, Dorothy said she'll be undergoing "conservative rehabilitation."
"So, it'll be a lot of physical therapy and I'm going to see my doctor on Friday here in LA," she explained. "[He's a] great spine surgeon... I saw the pictures today for the first time. You can see there's this big old cyst and you can see all the nerves that are white."
Adding, "I mean, I'm not a doctor, but they were surprised that I was actually still up and around."
"Dancing with the Stars" continues on Monday at 8/7c on ABC.
Copyright 2013 by NBC Universal, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.