Elton John cancels New Zealand shows as he battles pneumonia

File photo dated 24/07/19 of Sir Elton John, who will perform at the Oscars, where he is nominated for an award for best orig
File photo dated 24/07/19 of Sir Elton John, who will perform at the Oscars, where he is nominated for an award for best original song.

Sir Elton John has cancelled his two remaining New Zealand shows as he continues to suffer from a bout of pneumonia.

The shows have been rescheduled for next year. Earlier this week, he cut short a performance in Auckland after he lost his voice and needed medical help on stage.

Sir Elton said in a statement he was ‘incredibly disappointed’ and sent his apologies to his fans. It is not clear if his illness will affect other dates on his tour, which next moves to Australia.

Video clips posted online by fans at Sunday night’s performance showed the singing superstar breaking down in tears as he told the cheering crowd he could not go on any longer. The 72-year-old said he had walking pneumonia and was assisted off stage.

Tour promoter Chugg Entertainment initially said Sir Elton was recovering and the tour would go on as planned, aside from pushing back the next performance by one day to Wednesday.

But on Tuesday night, the promoters released another statement, according to the New Zealand Herald.

“Despite the best efforts of a performer who never wants to disappoint his fans, upon further consultation from doctors and specialists, it has this evening been decided that Sir Elton John’s two remaining Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland, performances will be rescheduled to Friday 15 and Saturday 16 January 2021,” it said.

Sir Elton said: “I always want to be able to give 100% and I’m afraid that, right now, I’m not able to do that.

“I am grateful for the love and loyalty I have been shown by all of you and I can’t wait to return in January next year to perform my final New Zealand shows.”

The concerts were part of his Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour. After the New Zealand shows, John is scheduled for seven performances in Australia before travelling to the US and Canada.

New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday that she watched Sir Elton’s shortened show and got to meet him for about five minutes before he started playing.

“You could tell that he wasn’t feeling well and he said he wasn’t feeling well,” Ms Ardern said. “So I think you could see that on the stage last night, which I think is just a credit to his commitment to his fans.”

He had told the crowd he was ill but did not want to miss the show, according to the Herald.

He slumped on a stool and required medical attention after performing Someone Saved My Life Tonight, but recovered and continued to play. Later, as he attempted to sing Daniel, he said he had realised he had no voice left and was escorted off stage.

He had just returned to New Zealand after performing at the Academy Awards in Los Angeles, where he won an Oscar for best original song for his theme song for the movie Rocketman.

According to the Mayo Clinic, walking pneumonia is an informal term for a milder form of pneumonia that is not severe enough to require hospital treatment or bed rest. It affects the respiratory tract and is most often caused by bacteria.

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