Riverdance Star Michael Flatley Seriously Ill
Lord of the Dance and Riverdance star Michael Flatley has been hospitalized in London with a serious illness and has and has cancelled all European dates for his Celtic Tiger show, his spokeswoman said on Thursday.
Stressing that the 48-year-old dancer’s condition was not life threatening, spokeswoman Geraldine Roche told Reuters that Flatley had been in a hospital for about two weeks.
She declined to specify the nature of the illness, but media reports say Flatley is suffering from a viral infection. Roche did say that there was no date as yet for Flatley’s release from the hospital.
The dancer – who married his longtime costar Niamh O’Brien, 32, in a ceremony in County Cork, Ireland, on Oct. 14 – had been booked to star in 20 performances of the show across Europe, ending at Wembley Arena in London next month.
“Dance is his whole life. He’s obviously devastated about it because he just can’t dance at the moment,” said Roche. “To pull a tour is not something one does lightly.”
O’Brien is at Flatley’s bedside, the BBC reports. Close friend Father Aidan Troy, who officiated at the Flatleys’ marriage, also visited him two weeks ago.
“Genuinely, I’m shocked,” Troy told the BBC. “Without being unkind, he’s not 18. I thought initially it may be exhaustion or stress.” Troy added, however, that Flatley said he was in good spirits and upbeat about his health.
In 2003, Flatley was diagnosed and then successfully treated successfully for skin cancer. Writing about that in his autobiography, he said: “A scare like that makes you even more aware you need to live every moment while you can.”