Cambodian princess, classical dance star, dies at 76

Cambodian princess, classical dance star, dies at 76
In this June 20, 2018, photo, Princess Norodom Buppha Devi, eldest daughter of the country's late King Norodom Sihanouk, attends the cremation ceremony of her sister in-law, Ouk Phalla, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Princess Norodom Buppha Devi, has died at age 76. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — Princess Norodom Buppha Devi, eldest daughter of Cambodia’s late King Norodom Sihanouk, has died at age 76.

Buppha Devi was the half sister of the country’s current king, Norodom Sihamoni, but was best known as a practitioner and promoter of classical Cambodian dance.

Cambodia’s Constitutional Council, of which she was a member, announced she died Monday at a hospital in Thailand. The cause of death was not given.

Buppha Devi learned dance as a small child and became lead dancer in the royal troupe before age 18.

She escaped from Cambodia before the 1975 Khmer Rouge takeover, returning to the country in 1991 with her father.

She served as culture minister in 1999-2004, and as recently as 2018 was directing classical dance troupes on performances abroad.