Michael Flatley, the creator and star of the hit show “Riverdance,” has been diagnosed with an “aggressive form of cancer,” according to an announcement on his official Instagram account Wednesday.
In the post it was revealed that the 64-year-old “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,” the post added.
Accompanying the caption was a black and white photo of the dancer standing on a beach, looking out to sea.
In 2021, Flatley revealed details of an earlier skin cancer diagnosis in 2003 to the Sunday Independent.
“It was purely by chance that it was noticed,” he told the newspaper at the time, adding that the melanoma was fully dealt with and left no side effects.
Born in Chicago to Irish parents, the dancer rose to stardom following the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest when his seven-minute “Riverdance” performance during the show’s interval delighted audiences and popularized Irish dancing around the world.
The performance was transformed into a feature-length show that opened in February 1995 at the Point Theater in Dublin. But, after a dispute with the show’s producers, Flatley was fired in October 1995.
He went on to create “Lord of the Dance.” The show broke box office records around the world, including in London where it set a record-breaking run of 21 consecutive shows at the Wembley Arena, according to Flatley’s website.
His dance troupe performed at former US President Donald Trump’s inauguration in 2017, and he told the Irish Independent that it was a “great honor,” despite facing criticism.
Last year, a “Lord of the Dance” tour was launched to celebrate its 25th anniversary.