Neil Diamond has cancelled his upcoming Australian concerts after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.
The legendary singer made the announcement on his website, saying he was retiring from concert touring.
“It is with great reluctance and disappointment that I announce my retirement from concert touring,” Diamond said on his website.
“I have been so honoured to bring my shows to the public for the past 50 years. My sincerest apologies to everyone who purchased tickets and were planning to come to the upcoming shows.”
Diamond said he planned to remain active with “writing, recording and other projects”.
“My thanks goes out to my loyal and devoted audiences around the world,” he said.
“You will always have my appreciation for your support and encouragement. This ride has been ‘so good, so good, so good’ thanks to you.”
Diamond, who turns 77 tomorrow, was set to tour Australia through March and April.
Ticket refund information is available here.
Diamond first hit the charts in the 60s and has been a consistent presence there since, with a string of top singles including Sweet Caroline, Cherry Cherry, and America.
He has been married three times, most recently in 2012, and was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2011.
Parkinson’s Australia CEO Steve Sant told 9news.com.au there remained a high level of ignorance about the disease in Australia, despite a number of high-profile cases including Diamond, Michael J. Fox, and Muhammad Ali.
“The understanding is very low,” he said.
Parkinson’s is a condition widely known to cause a physical tremor, however, Mr Sant said 30 percent of people thus afflicted did not manifest that symptom.
Other effects of the disease include dementia, loss of smell, and gut issues.
Mr Sant said Australia’s ageing population made Parkinson’s an ever more relevant issue.
The risk of contracting the disease rose at 65 and tripled again at 85.
Mr Sant advised people wanting to know more to visit the Parkinson’s Australia website, or to contact 1800 644 189 for assistance, including links to any of the 320 support groups around the country.