Uncertainty surrounds the future of Elton John’s epic farewell tour after he was forced to cut short a concert in New Zealand Sunday night, breaking down in tears on stage as he revealed he was suffering with a form of pneumonia.
The British showbiz legend wept in front of a crowd of thousands at Auckland’s Mount Smart Stadium on Sunday as he rasped: “I’ve just completely lost my voice. I can’t sing. I’ve got to go. I’m sorry.”
The audience applauded as the singer walked gingerly off stage, helped by several assistants.
Earlier in his set, Sir Elton had told the sold-out crowd he had been diagnosed with walking pneumonia. At one point he appeared to slump over his piano and received medical attention on stage.
John has been plagued with health worries over the past year and recently announced that the current “Farewell Yellow Brick Road” tour would be his last. However, he also said the new tour would comprise a total of 300 dates and be spread over three years.
How realistic that goal is for the singer, 72, remains to be seen, but tour promoters were quick to say that John’s next shows in Auckland on Tuesday and Thursday this week would go ahead as planned.
Walking pneumonia is a type of lung infection often caused by bacteria or viruses, and is less severe than other types of pneumonia, with most sufferers not requiring medical attention. Symptoms usually include a cough, chest pain, a sore throat and a headache.
John had performed classics such as Candle in the Wind on Sunday night but gave up while trying to sing Daniel.
He later posted an apology on Instagram writing: “I played and sang my heart out, until my voice could sing no more. I’m disappointed, deeply upset and sorry. I gave it all I had. Thank you so much for your extraordinary support and all the love you showed me during tonight’s performance. I am eternally grateful. Love, John xx.”
Last October, John was forced to postpone a show in Indianapolis saying he was “extremely unwell.”
In his memoir, ‘Me’, John spoke at great detail about his health issues saying that at one point, he thought he was “24 hours from death.”
“In the hospital, alone at the dead of night, I’d prayed: please don’t let me die, please let me see my kids again, please give me a little longer.”
In a 2010 TV interview with Piers Morgan, John spoke openly about more than a decade of drug use in the 1970s and the 1980s. He also said his addiction led him to become bulimic.
“This is how bleak it was: I’d stay up, I’d smoke joints, I’d drink a bottle of Johnnie Walker and then I’d stay up for three days and then I’d go to sleep for a day and a half, get up, and because I was so hungry, because I hadn't eaten anything, I’d binge and have like three bacon sandwiches, a pot of ice cream and then I’d throw it up, because I became bulimic and then go and do the whole thing all over again,” he told Morgan.