Elvis Costello cancels tour after cancer diagnosis

6 July 2018, 10:34 | Updated: 6 July 2018, 12:26

Elvis Costello
Picture: Getty

By Tom Eames

Elvis Costello has been forced to cancel the remainder of his tour, after confirming that he is battling cancer.

The 'Oliver's Army' singer has cancelled six dates of the European tour on doctor's orders, saying that he is battling a "very aggressive" illness.

The 63-year-old musician apologised to his fans, saying he thought his treatment would be completed in time.

“Six weeks ago my specialist called me and said, 'You should start playing the Lotto,'" he said in a statement, adding that surgeons, "had rarely, if ever, seen such a small but very aggressive cancerous malignancy that could be defeated by a single surgery.

"I was elated and relieved that our European summer tour could go ahead," he continued. "Post-surgical guidelines for such surgery, recommend three weeks to four weeks recovery depending on whether you are returning to a desk job or an occupation that involves physical work or travel."

He soon realised he needed to focus on his health. "It was impossible to judge how this advisory would line up with the demands on a traveling musician, playing 90-minute to 2-hour plus performances on a nightly basis but by the time we reached the Edinburgh Playhouse, I was almost fooled into thinking that normal service had been resumed.," he said.

"I have to thank our friends attending last night's show in Amsterdam and those in Antwerp, Glynde and at Newcastle City Hall for bearing me up.

"The spirit has been more than willing but I have to now accept that it is going to take longer than I would have wished for me to recover my full strength. Therefore, I must reluctantly cancel all the remaining engagements of this tour.

"My apologies go to our ticket holders in Manchester, Pula, Graz, Vienna, Tysnes and Rattvik but I would rather disappoint our friends there by not appearing than in pressing on with a show that is compromised and eventually puts my health at risk."

He concluded: "Take very good care of your loved ones but Gentleman, do talk to you friends - you'll find you are not alone - seek your doctor's advice if you are in doubt or when it is timely and act as swiftly as you may in these matters. It may save your life. Believe me, it is better than playing roulette."