Neil Diamond cancels Australian and New Zealand tour following Parkinson’s disease diagnosis

By @chelean on
FILE PHOTO: Singer Neil Diamond performs on NBC's 'Today' show in New York, U.S. October 20, 2014.
FILE PHOTO: Singer Neil Diamond performs on NBC's 'Today' show in New York, U.S. October 20, 2014. Reuters/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

American music legend Neil Diamond has cancelled his Australian and New Zealand tour after he has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. The best-selling artist also announced his retirement Tuesday.

Diamond, who turns 77 on Wednesday, was due to perform in locations in Australia and New Zealand in March as part of his 50th anniversary tour. However, he had to cancel the rest of his tour altogether due to his recent diagnosis. The onset of the disease forces Diamond to conclude his travels and end his performances on large scales.

“It is with great reluctance and disappointment that I announce my retirement from concert touring. I have been so honoured to bring my shows to the public for the past 50 years,” Diamond said in a statement. “My sincerest apologies to everyone who purchased tickets and were planning to come to the upcoming shows.

“I plan to remain active in writing, recording and other projects for a long time to come. My thanks goes out to my loyal and devoted audiences around the world. You will always have my appreciation for your support and encouragement. This ride has been ‘so good, so good, so good’ thanks to you,” he added, referencing lyrics from his 1969 hitmaker “Sweet Caroline.”

The Australian and Kiwi shows would have been part of the third leg of his 50th anniversary tour, which already sold out tours in the US and Europe in 2017. His long-time Australian promoter, Paul Dainty, said he was “devastated and saddened” to learn of the music icon’s illness and retirement.

Fans who bought tickets by credit or debit card will be refunded in full in up to 10 working days. Those who purchased tickets with cash or EFTPOS will be contacted by Ticketek to arrange a refund.

Diamond will be honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award by The Recording Academy on Thursday, a day after he celebrates his 77th birthday. He released a Christmas album in 2016 and had “Melody Road” in 2014.