A dancer who was killed hours before he was due to perform a lead role in a top London theatre has been hailed as "one of the most charismatic and powerful dancers of his generation".
Jonathan Ollivier, 38, was killed yesterday in a motorbike accident shortly before he was due to take to the stage in the final show of Matthew Bourne's The Car Man at Sadler's Wells Theatre.
The dance star, who had previously won plaudits for playing The Swan in Bourne's all-male Swan Lake, was described by the renowned choreographer as "a true gent".
In a statement, Bourne, artistic director of New Adventures dance company which was behind The Car Man, said: "Yesterday we lost our Swan and our Car Man - Jonathan Ollivier was one of the most charismatic and powerful dancers of his generation: An intensely masculine presence tempered with tenderness and vulnerability made him the perfect casting for a string of triumphant roles in the New Adventures repertory including The Swan, the enigmatic Speight in Play Without Words and his final role as Luca in The Car Man, which he was due to dance at last night's final performance at Sadler's Wells.
"A man of great warmth and charm, Jonny was a true gent, loved and respected by his colleagues and adored by audiences who were mesmerised by his memorable performances on stage as well as his friendly and genuine personality at the stage door.
"He was also an inspiration and role model to several generations of young dancers who strived to emulate his enviable technique and majestic stage presence.
"Yesterday's events have ripped at the heart of the New Adventures family and we join together to send our heartfelt condolences to all of Jonny's family and friends.
"In our grieving for this irreplaceable artist we take some comfort in the legacy of memories that he has left behind."
Ollivier was killed as he rode his motorbike through Clerkenwell in central London yesterday morning, Scotland Yard said.
He was involved in a collision with a black Mercedes saloon car in Farringdon Road and police, paramedics and an air ambulance tried to save his life, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.
The driver, who stopped at the scene, was arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and was in custody at a central London police station.
Police said he has since been bailed to a date in February 2016.
Ollivier, from Northampton, had been due to play the role of Luca in the evening performance of Bourne's show which was due to finish yesterday after a run of nearly four weeks at the famous venue.