MADRID, Spain -- Spanish flamenco dancer and choreographer Antonio Gades died yesterday in Madrid after a long illness, a hospital spokesman said. He was 67.
''He was a great artist, unique. . . . It's a tremendous loss for dance," said the director of the National Ballet of Spain, Jose Antonio Ruiz.
Mr. Gades was born Antonio Esteve Rodenas on Nov. 14, 1936, in Elda, near the Mediterranean city of Valencia.
He was a lead dancer for a Spanish troupe in his 20s, set up his own company, and became world famous as choreographer for works like ''Blood Wedding" and ''Carmen," performed on the world's best-known stages.
Those two works and ''Bewitched Love" were filmed by Carlos Saura and became classics.
A spokesman for Madrid's Gregorio Maranon Hospital did not elaborate on the cause of death. Spain's Efe news agency reported he died of cancer.
Mr. Gades will be cremated. The funeral will be private.
The family's statement said that Mr. Gades had asked his wife, Eugenia Eiriz, to convey ''his most sincere thanks to all those who admired and supported his work and especially to those who accompanied him during the final stage of his life."