QUEEN guitarist Brian May has been forced to cancel all of his December concerts with Kerry Ellis because he is "battling with a persistent illness."
The rock legend and West End superstar Ellis were due to kick off their 11-date, three-week "Christmas Candlelight Tour" on December 7, but have scrapped the shows because May has been told performing will worsen his current condition.
In a message on his web site, the legendary 69-year-old musician apologized to his fans and added: "This is a decision I've agonized over, but in the end, it has become inevitable.
"I managed to complete the recent QUEEN and Adam Lambert dates in Asia but I have been increasingly battling with a persistent illness which is destroying my energy and my will.
"I am now at the point where I don't feel confident to perform the scheduled shows to the standard we all expect.
"I've been strongly advised to rest and heal, rather than go out and risk 'falling down on the job' out there, which would be a real tragedy.
"I'm convinced it's much better taking the step to cancel the dates now, refunding the fans for the ticket sales, and giving all our team a chance to re-plan their time in December.
In a separate post, Brian added he was heading off to an undisclosed location to focus on his recuperation.
He wrote: "I got myself in a very depleted state and have taken the decision now to clear my diary of everything until the end of the year.
"I'm leaving today on a big steel bird to spend some time recharging in a safe place. Need to turn off the phones and media for a while.
"Apologies to everyone involved in the things I will miss. I have to get away and prioritize healing — sometimes there is no choice."
May, who is married to former "EastEnders" actress Anita Dobson, previously battled prostate cancer, but received the all-clear in 2014.
Regarding the news, Ellis, who is currently starring in "Murder Ballad" at the Arts Theatre in London, said: "Brian is a dear friend of mine and obviously his health must come first. I was so looking forward to touring the U.K. again with Brian.
"I know so many of you had bought tickets for an early Christmas treat, and I am truly sorry that we are letting so many of you down. But we will be back next year for sure, with new music for you all to hear."