Gay pop legend George Michael has cancelled the Australian leg of his tour, revealing to fans he is battling ‘major anxiety’.
The ‘White Light’ singer, who suffered a severe case of pneumonia, announced the news in a statement on his website.
He said: ‘Since last year’s illness I have tried in vain to work my way through the trauma that the doctors who saved my life warned me I would experience.
‘They recommended complete rest and the type of post-traumatic counseling which is available in cases like mine.
‘I’m afraid I believed (wrongly) that making music and getting out there to perform for the audiences that bring me such joy would be therapy enough in itself.’
Michael continued: ‘Unfortunately I seriously underestimated how difficult this year would be.
‘Although I was right to believe that the shows would bring me great happiness and that my voice would recover completely (I truly think that some of my recent performances have been my best ever), I was wrong to think I could work my way through the major anxiety that has plagued me since I left Austria last December.
‘All that's left for me to do is apologize to my wonderful Australian fan base.’
The singer, who shot to fame with 80s duo Wham!, is still planning to perform his UK dates in October.
Australian fans will be given full refunds for their tickets, although those with Perth tickets have been offered the chance to see fellow gay pop singer Sir Elton John instead on 10 November.
The ‘Rocket Man’ singer said: ‘My dear friend George Michael has been some amazing performances on the Symphonica tour, and I’m very sorry that he can’t play the Perth concert.
‘But I’m more than happy to step in for him.’