BEIJING (AP) _ Dungkar Lobsang Trinley, a leading Tibetan intellectual who angered Chinese authorities by defending the preservation of his culture and language, has reportedly died of cancer. He was 70.

Also known as Dungkar Rinpoche, he died in a Los Angeles hospital July 21, according to the Tibet Information Network.

Rinpoche was known for his expertise on Buddhism and traditional Tibetan poetry. But recent state-run media reports indicated he had drawn official ire by promoting Tibetan-language education and refusing to denounce the exiled Buddhist spiritual leader Dalai Lama, the London-based group said.

Born in southern Tibet in 1927, Rinpoche was recognized as an incarnate lama, or priest, when he was 4. He joined a monastery in Lhasa at age 9. At 30, he had achieved the highest level of academic study within the Tibetan monastic system.

Rinpoche left Tibet to spend much of his career teaching in Beijing, where his ability to synthesize Marxist approaches with his own field of study found favor within the Communist leadership.

In 1984, the scholar returned to Lhasa to teach at Tibet University. In recent years, his outspoken defense of Tibetan-language education ran counter to the Chinese government's effort to promote assimilation among the restive ethnic minority.