Elvis Costello Forced to Cancel European Tour Following Surgery to Remove 'Aggressive' Cancer

Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Little Kids Rock
Elvis Costello performs onstage during the Little Kids Rock Benefit 2017 at PlayStation Theater on Oct. 18, 2017 in New York City.

Elvis Costello has been forced to cancel the remaining six dates on his European summer tour on doctor's orders following surgery to remove what the 63 year-old singer described as a small but "very aggressive cancerous malignancy." Six weeks after undergoing a procedure -- the location of the tumor was not specified -- Costello revealed that post-surgery guidelines recommend three to four weeks of recovery.    

In an apology to fans, Costello wrote, "Six weeks ago my specialist called me and said, 'You should start playing the Lotto.' He had rarely, if ever, seen such a small but very aggressive cancerous malignancy that could be defeated by a single surgery. I was elated and relieved that our European summer tour could go ahead. Post-surgical guidelines for such surgery, recommend three weeks to four weeks recovery depending on whether you are returning to a desk job or an occupation that involves physical work or travel."    

The canceled dates include already scotched UK gigs on June 27 and 28th, as well as upcoming shows on July 6 (Manchester, England), July 8 (Croatia), July 9 and 11 (Austria), July 14 (Norway) and July 16 (Sweden).   

     

"It was impossible to judge how this advisory would line up with the demands on a traveling musician, playing 90-minute to 2-hour plus performances on a nightly basis but by the time we reached the Edinburgh Playhouse, I was almost fooled into thinking that normal service had been resumed," Costello continued. "I have to thank our friends attending last night's show in Amsterdam and those in Antwerp, Glynde and at Newcastle City Hall for bearing me up. The spirit has been more than willing but I have to now accept that it is going to take longer than I would have wished for me to recover my full strength. Therefore, I must reluctantly cancel all the remaining engagements of this tour."       

Costello apologized to the fans who'd bought tickets for the upcoming shows, saying he would rather disappoint them by not appearing than "pressing on with a show that is compromised and eventually puts my health at risk." The singer also thanked his longtime Imposters bandmates for their support during this time, ending the note with a positive bit of news -- he and the Imposters have completed a "magnificent" new album that is due out in October, with plans to hit the road again as soon as he is medically cleared to do so. In June, Costello announced a string of American dates in support of the album -- his first new release since 2010's National Ransom -- which are slated to kick off with a November 2 gig in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

"Take very good care of your loved ones but Gentleman, do talk to you friends - you'll find you are not alone - seek your doctor's advice if you are in doubt or when it is timely and act as swiftly as you may in
these matters," he wrote. "It may save your life. Believe me, it is better than playing roulette." Click here to see the full statement.