Michael Flatley, Lord of the Dance, diagnosed with 'aggressive form of cancer'

·2-min read
Michael Flatley
Michael Flatley

Ken McKay/ITV/Shutterstock Michael Flatley

Michael Flatley, the high-stepping star of such Irish dance shows as Riverdance and Lord of the Dance, has been diagnosed with "an aggressive form of cancer."

His team announced the news on social media Wednesday and said Flatley, 64, is recovering from surgery.

"Dear friends, we have something personal to share," Flatley's representatives said in a statement posted alongside a black-and-white photo of the Irish American performer standing on a shore. "Michael Flatley has been diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer. He has undergone surgery and is in the care of an excellent team of doctors. No further comments will be made at this time. We ask only for your prayers and well wishes. Thank you."

Flatley rose to fame after performing an intermission show for the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest, held that year in Ireland. The show, titled "Riverdance," was seven minutes long and was met with widespread acclaim, leading Flatley to produce the full-length Riverdance.

After being fired over creative differences in 1995, Flatley struck out on his own, starting the even more popular Lord of the Dance, which made him one of the world's highest-paid entertainers. In 1997, he performed at the Academy Awards.

Flatley continued touring with various iterations of his Irish dance shows, eventually performing on Dancing With the Stars in 2007 and serving as a guest judge in 2008. After a series of injuries, Flately retired from live performing in 2016, though he did make a special appearance at Donald Trump's inauguration to introduce his dance troupe.

In addition to his dance work, Flatley wrote, directed, and starred in the 2018 spy film Blackbird, which also starred Eric Roberts.

Flatley previously battled cancer in 2003, when he was diagnosed with a malignant melanoma. He was successfully treated and wrote of the incident in his 2006 autobiography Lord of the Dance: My Story, "A scare like that makes you even more aware you need to live every moment while you can."

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