Paris (AFP)

The former Paris Opera principal dancer and dance star Patrick Dupond died on Friday at the age of 61 from a "devastating illness", his entourage told AFP.

"Patrick Dupond flew this morning to dance with the stars," said his collaborator Leïla Da Rocha.

"He died after a devastating illness," she said, adding that he had been "sick for a few months".

Patrick Dupond was one of the greatest stars of the Paris Opera and of dance in general in France, known to the general public beyond the circle of ballet lovers.

Crowned at 21 years old star of the Opera, of which he was for a long time the darling, the dancer, Grand prix national de la danse (1982), had to leave "the house" in difficult circumstances after his dismissal in 1997, for which he was compensated in cassation.

His acting qualities appeal to the greatest choreographers, from Roland Petit to Maurice Béjart who create for him.

In 2000, he was the victim of a serious car accident.

His body is broken by 134 fractures and the doctors tell him that he will no longer dance.

After having dabbled in cinema ("Dancing Machine" with Alain Delon in 1990), danced with the horses of the Cadre Noir, he dabbled in reality TV and notably became a juror in the program "Dance with the stars" on TF1 in 2018 .

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