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Home World News Washington Post World News ‘Riverdance’ star Michael Flatley has been diagnosed with ‘aggressive’ cancer

‘Riverdance’ star Michael Flatley has been diagnosed with ‘aggressive’ cancer

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Irish-American dancer Michael Flatley, who became world famous for his performances in the shows “Riverdance” and “Lord of the Dance”, has been diagnosed with an “aggressive” form of cancer.

The star has had surgery and is “under the care of an excellent team of doctors,” according to a post on his Facebook page, alongside a black and white photo of Flatley looking out to sea. Further details about his condition were not disclosed.

Flatley, 64, was born in the United States to Irish parents. He took Irish dancing lessons in Chicago at an early age.

His big break came in 1994, when he performed during the intermission of the Eurovision Song Contest in Dublin. His arrival on stage with a dance that combined traditional Irish steps and music with a more energetic style and more elaborate costumes led to the creation of popular stage shows that grossed more than $1 billion.

In the late 1990s, his fast-dancing feet, which once held a Guinness World Record, were insured for some $30 million, according to the BBC.

Michael Flatley retires; catch his final appearances in ‘Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games’

Flatley retired from dancing in 2016 after a series of injuries. “People don’t realize how cruel it really is,” he told The Washington Post at the time. “I know a lot of professional athletes and we exchange horror stories about the legs and the feet and the backs and the neck. And I think I’ve had the worst!

He also hinted at the unique pressures of live shows. “It’s not like any other art form,” he said. “We have to paint our picture every night – live – and it has to be as perfect as possible, every night – live. It’s been a long road.”

Last year, the “Lord of the Dance” returned to the stage to celebrate its 25th anniversary – this time with a new principal dancer – and donated the proceeds from his opening night performance to support Ukraine.

The Irish dancer also made his directorial debut with the movie ‘Blackbird’. The film, which stars Flatley as a troubled ex-spy living in the Caribbean, aired briefly at London’s Raindance Film Festival in 2018, but took years to reach mainstream cinemas. The film was panned as a vanity project by some critics. A headline in the British newspaper The Guardian described it as ‘egosploitation cinema’.

Flatley was previously diagnosed with malignant melanoma in 2003 and has been raising money for cancer ever since.

“I’ve got a lot of miles on the clock,” he said in a 2022 interview with Britain’s Daily Mail weekend magazine. “I’ve been hit a few times.”



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