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British ballet dancer David Wall dies of cancer aged 67

LONDON (Reuters) - British ballet dancer David Wall, known for becoming the youngest male principal at the Royal Ballet at the age of 21, has died of cancer aged 67 at his home in London.

Director of the Royal Ballet, Kevin O'Hare, paid tribute to Wall who died on Tuesday, describing him as a "truly exceptional artist" and one of the company's greatest dance actors.

He said Wall would be remembered for playing the role of the manipulative Lescaut in "Manon" that was created for him in 1974 as well as taking on the most challenging male role in the company's repetoire, Prince Rudolf in "Mayerling", in 1978.

The dancer, who was awarded with a CBE for his services to ballet, was a regular partner with British ballerina Margot Fonteyn in the 1970s.

He retired from ballet in 1984 and joined the Royal Academy of Dance as director before becoming a ballet master at English National Ballet in 1995.

"David was a wonderful role model for all young male dancers of the generation that followed him and on his retirement from the stage he became an inspirational teacher and coach," O'Hare said in a statement.

Wall is survived by his wife Alfreda Thorogood, also a former principal dancer with the Royal Ballet, their two children and grandchildren.

(Reporting by Ellen Sowerby, Editing by Belinda Goldsmith)

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