The cause of death was lung cancer, said his longtime friend Rick Frey. Smith had been dividing his time between Los Angeles and New York City.
Born in 1951 in Memphis, he studied dance at the North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem and then performed as a dancer and actor in Memphis and later with the Eglevsky Ballet on Long Island, New York.
He joined the Dance Theatre of Harlem in the late 1970s and danced with the company for 17 years. One of his best known roles was as Stanley Kowalski in a dance adaptation by Valerie Bettis of the Tennessee Williams play "A Streetcar Named Desire."
Read more about Smith at the Los Angeles Times website.