Neil Diamond has announced he is retiring from touring after being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. The singer, who will celebrate his 77th birthday on 24 January, was scheduled to perform in Australia and New Zealand in March as part of his 50th anniversary tour, but has now cancelled all tour dates on his doctor's advice. In a statement, Neil said he had made the decision "with great reluctance and disappointment". He continued: "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. I plan to remain active in writing, recording and other projects for a long time to come.
Neil Diamond has retired from touring after being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease
"My thanks goes out to my loyal and devoted audiences around the world. You will always have my appreciation for your support and encouragement." With a nod to his hit Sweet Caroline, he concluded: "This ride has been 'so good, so good, so good' thanks to you."
The singer pictured with Katie McNeil, his third wife
Neil has sold more than 130 million albums worldwide and is set to receive a lifetime achievement award at the 2018 Grammy Awards on Sunday. Following his announcement, fans and friends have sent messages to the singer on social media, with Nancy Sinatra tweeting: "Keep fighting, old buddy. You've got a long way to go yet." Barry Manilow wrote: "So, so sorry to hear about the great Neil Diamond's illness. I'm rooting for you Neil! Fight on from another Brooklyn boy!" Fellow musician Josh Groban added: "Endless admiration and love to you."