PRETTY MAIDS singer Ronnie Atkins has been diagnosed with lung cancer.
The Danish musician broke the news of his diagnosis earlier today via the band's Facebook page.
He wrote in an open letter to the PRETTY MAIDS fans: "It's scary how your world can be turned upside down in a couple of weeks.
"I went to my doctor for a routine check complaining about some back pains in mid-August. I then went through numerous scans, bronchoscopy, biopsies etc. and spent a lot of time waiting for answers in uncertainty. And so finally three weeks ago I found myself diagnosed with lung cancer.
"Now this has by all means been a shock to me, my family and those close to me since it came totally unexpected without any typical symptoms and everything just happened and developed so fast lately.
"I'm already in treatment and underwent surgery two weeks ago, then spend some 10 days in hospital with pneumonia as a consequence apparently linked to the surgery.
"According to the medical staff my prospects are good considering it's lung cancer. However, I will have to undertake further treatment the next couple of months to be on the safe side. This means that I unfortunately will have to step back from most musical activities concerts etc. for an indefinite period of time.
"I'm going into this with a positive mindset and with the continuing love and support from my family and friends I'm determined to battle this disease the best I can -God willing!"
According to PRETTY MAIDS, all of the band's previously announced shows have been canceled and all of the group's "plans are on hold." The band says: "ALL focus is now on Ronnie's health and undergoing treatment."
Formed in early 1982 by Atkins and guitarist Ken Hammer, PRETTY MAIDS quickly established itself as a band to be taken seriously. In April 1987, "Future World", the band's third album recorded in the USA, was released to great acclaim and is still today regarded as a "classic."
After the release of the follow-up album "Jump The Gun" (produced by DEEP PURPLE's Roger Glover), PRETTY MAIDS in 1991 were on the verge of a breakup. However, Hammer and Atkins found a new rhythm section and in 1992 released the "Sin - Decade", a record that would reveal that PRETTY MAIDS was still a force to be reckoned with, despite the fact that the metal scene now was overrun by the grunge movement. "Sin - Decade" became a huge success in Japan and gave the band a big radio hit with the single "Please Don't Leave Me", laying the foundation for the band in the East that would last for the next decade.
During the ensuing years, PRETTY MAIDS continued to release albums usually followed by European and Japanese tours.
In a 2013 interview with Myglobalmind, Atkins joked that the secret to keeping his voice in shape was "twenty cigarettes a day and little drink now and then."
PRETTY MAIDS' new album, "Undress Your Madness", is scheduled for release on November 8 via Frontiers Music Srl.