Neil Diamond has just announced that he's retiring from touring due to a diagnosis of Parkinson's Disease. The Grammy-winning singer and songwriter confirmed that the third leg of his 50th Anniversary tour, which had been scheduled to start in March in Australia and New Zealand, was dropped per the advice of his doctor.
In a statement, the "Sweet Caroline" singer said that despite canceling the remainder of his tour, he will continue writing and recording new music. Diamond is one of this year's recipients of Grammy's Lifetime Achievement Award, alongside Tina Turner, Queen, Emmylou Harris, and several other music legends.
"It is with great reluctance and disappointment that I announce my retirement from concert touring," said Diamond. "I have been so honored 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 also thanked his "loyal and devoted audiences around the world," telling them he'll always appreciate their support and encouragement.
"This ride has been 'so good, so good, so good' thanks to you."
Diamond's 50th Anniversary tour kicked off in April 2017 and saw him perform for 55 dates across North America and Europe, wrapping this past October in London. As a performer, Diamond is a legend, and a natural. During a performance in Los Angeles back in August, he exclaimed to the crowd that he had the best job ever because he gets to sing, hear the audience applaud, then sing much louder — "I go wherever the noise is," he said.
Those who purchased tickets will be refunded, of course. Credit and debit card users will be refunded in full without taking any action. But those who purchased using cash or EFTPOS will need to arrange a refund with Ticketek.
Diamond released Melody Road in 2014, his most recent studio album not counting 2016's Acoustic Christmas. He wrote all the songs in Melody Road, most notably, and collaborated with Blue Note president Don Was in addition to Jacknife Lee.
"There are no duds on his first all-new album since 2008 — just 12 stripped down soft-rock tracks, not too heavy on the strings, hitting consistently hard whether Diamond plays the winsome crooner ('Something Blue') or the bummed-out belter ('Alone at the Ball')," wrote Rolling Stone in its review of the album.
Diamond, who will turn 77 on Jan. 24, has sold more than 100 million records worldwide since the 1960s.