The Rolling Stones and veteran crooner Andy Williams have canceled planned concerts in Hong Kong due to the lethal outbreak of a mystery illness known as severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS.

The Rolling Stones and veteran crooner Andy Williams have canceled planned concerts in Hong Kong due to the lethal outbreak of a mystery illness known as severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS.

According to a statement, the Stones made their decision to call off shows Friday (March 28) and Saturday in the country based on warnings and the Hong Kong Government and the World Health Organization. "Increases in the number of cases of SARS in Hong Kong and Southern China and continued concern over large gatherings have created apprehension among fans and concern for their safety," the statement read.

The group, which hopes to reschedule the Hong Kong concerts "as soon as possible," went on with their Singapore concerts Monday night and last night as planned, despite an outbreak of deadly flu in the city state that has claimed one life and forced more than 700 people into quarantine.

Williams' tour, which incorporates 20 musicians, singers and dancers, had been scheduled to perform April 12 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center. "In deference to my band and the others traveling with us, I just didn't want to take any health risks," the 75-year-old Williams said. "Hopefully, the source of the problem will be determined and things brought under control." His show has been rescheduled for June 6 at the same venue.

Williams was in Las Vegas Tuesday for the opening of Celine Dion's new show and theater at Caesars Palace. He was the first headliner to perform at the casino in 1966.



-- AP & Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.



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