On elimination night, when she was already announced safe to dance another day, The Olympic great came forward to say she needed to take the advice of her spine surgeon and withdraw from the competition.
"I have an injury that could be irreparable and nerve damage and it would be completely unfair for me to stay in this and have any of these people go home," she said on the dance floor.
Hamill painfully pushed her way through two weeks of competition with partner Tristan MacManus, but doctors encouraged her to drop out.
"It's something that if I don't take care of, I'll have permanent foot, leg, nerve damage. So, it's rest," she said. "Getting better is something that just is going to take some time and I guess that's the priority. And I just feel so badly for Tristan. I didn't want to let him down and I wanted to learn to dance."
Hamill's presence in the ballroom will be missed.
"Dorothy was my rock," comedian Andy Dick said. "Since the day we were announced on 'Good Morning America,' we bonded for some reason. But she's very motherly and she right away said how proud she was of me."
"A total class act and every single time I passed her in the hallway or whatever we were doing, she was always touching my hand or patting me," Wynonna Judd said. "She's such a dear heart. She's a mom and she's just such a leader."
Hamill said she's still leaving with a big prize.
"Some of the dearest friends in the world. If I have this friend for the rest of my life there couldn't be a more incredible trophy than that," she said as she hugged MacManus.
Hamill isn't the first star to leave the competition early.
- In Season 2, rapper Romeo dropped out at the last minute, and his rapper dad, Master P, turned up in his place. Romeo returned to compete on the show in Season 12.
- In Season 3, personal problems caused country star Sara Evans to leave the competition.
- Olympian Misty May-Treanor withdrew in Season 7 due to a severe injury to her Achilles tendon.
- Both singer Jewel and TV host Nancy O'Dell dropped out due to injury before the Season 8 competition even began.
- In Season 9, Tom DeLay quit the show three weeks in because of a foot fracture.