STRATOVARIUS guitarist Timo Tolkki has issued the following statement via the group's official web site:

"I have returned home from the hospital and I feel a little better now.

"I have had a lot of time to think and analyze the situation that lead to my complete breakdown.

"First and foremost I would like to thank Doctor Raili Kauppinen of ward 42 of Mehiläinen Hospital. I don´t think I would be here anymore without her encouraging rational thinking and support.

"Secondly I want to thank my wife, daughter and my relatives, and my band for their love and support.

"Thirdly I want to thank those legions of STRATOVARIUS fans who sent me their messages of love and support.

"I have read each and every one of them and I was truly touched by what you wrote. I have received over 3000 messages. I cannot thank you enough ever for your support.

"I finally realized that I have an illness.

"I completely lost control of myself. I have never felt more horrible, afraid and helpless in my entire life.

"Lying in the hospital, one of the feelings that forced its way to my consciousness was this: I have been taking the wrong path. Memories and feelings filled my mind from the past STRATOVARIUS tours and recording sessions. I became so sad for the loss. And the loss was also connected to my therapy, to my father somehow and to the starting of my studio. All these feelings at the same time almost made me end my life. These things, together with the stressful events of the last few months, were too overwhelming for me.

"I felt what many STRATOVARIUS fans must have felt about the turmoil and changes in the band they love. And finally I saw it clearly. STRATOVARIUS is Timo Kotipelto, Jens Johansson, Jörg Michael, Jari Kainulainen and Timo Tolkki. If this line up is not possible, then there cannot be any band called STRATOVARIUS. The current situation is not fair to the fans, and it is not fair to Katriina (Miss K), who by now is very wary of this situation.

"From my side I can say that I will use my every strength to do these few last shows, I promise that I will be there, and that I am also up for trying to solve the problems with Timo Kotipelto, if he still is willing to try. I am hoping that with a little work, he will have have compassion, understanding and forgiveness for my behaviour the past year. This will not be easy and it will not be cheap. But if we can't sit down like men and talk and solve them together, then 'Elements Part II' will be STRATOVARIUS' final record and after the last show this summer on July 3 STRATOVARIUS will die. That is the most fair thing to everybody, no matter the financial disaster which will be the result for all of us in who are left the band (excepting Katriina who I am planning to release from the contract in this case).

"Despite this bad news, I have learned a lot about myself in these last days and I wish you all sunny and nice springtime."

Watch Tolkki's video-taped statement at this location.


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