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Michael Flatley, 64, has “aggressive” cancer

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Irish-American dancer Michael Flatley, who gained worldwide fame for his performances in the stage shows ‘Riverdance’ and ‘Lord of the Dance’, has been diagnosed with an ‘aggressive’ form of cancer.

The star underwent surgery and is “being cared for by an excellent team of doctors,” a post on his Facebook page said, alongside a black-and-white photo of Flatley staring out to sea. No further details on his condition was not disclosed.

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

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

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

Michael Flatley retires; catch his latest performances in “Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games”

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

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

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

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

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

“I have a lot of miles ahead of me,” he said in a 2022 interview with Britain’s weekend magazine Daily Mail. “I took a few hits.”

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