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Sills said to be ill with cancer

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NEW YORK - Beverly Sills, the opera diva who won over fans worldwide with her sparkling voice and charming personality and later became a powerhouse in the New York arts world, is gravely ill with cancer, the Associated Press has learned.

Sills, 78, was chairwoman of the Metropolitan Opera until resigning two years ago, citing health and family reasons. The Met would neither confirm nor deny news of her illness, but people close to the situation said Sills was at a Manhattan hospital.

In an e-mail this week to board members, the Met said Sills was "gravely ill." One person said she had lung cancer. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to announce news of her health. Sills, a nonsmoker, underwent successful cancer surgery in 1974. - AP

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