James Hetfield, lead singer and guitarist of hard rock act Metallica, has been released from the rehab facility he checked himself into last June, according to a post on the band's official Web site.

James Hetfield, lead singer and guitarist of hard rock act Metallica, has been released from the rehab facility he checked himself into last June, according to a post on the band's official Web site. The recovery process is referred to as going "exceedingly well," with Hetfield offering thanks for the messages sent to him by his fans. "My rough road has become smoother reading the show of support from friends I've met through Metallica," he says. "Thank you. They move me deeply."

Last summer, it was announced that Hetfield had entered rehab to "undergo treatment for alcoholism and other addictions." The move put a hold on Metallica's forthcoming eighth studio release and first without bassist Jason Newsted, which the group had been recording with veteran hard rock producer Bob Rock. Rock has teamed regularly with the group since 1991's self-titled "black album."

While the new album won't be released until sometime next year, Hetfield expressed a desire to get back to work. "My music and my lrix [sic] have always been therapy for me. With this God-given gift, I don't know where I'd be. And now I truly feel the impact and connection it's made with others."

The group has not yet announced a replacement for Newsted, who, as previously reported, is producing the forthcoming album from Dallas act Speedealer. He's also at work on his own project, EchoBrain.

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