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Elvis Costello discloses cancer diagnosis, cancels tour dates

July 23, 2018 GMT

Elvis Costello revealed Friday that he recently went underwent cancer surgery and has cancelled a half-dozen tour dates to recuperate.

“Six weeks ago my specialist called me and said, ‘You should start playing the lotto,’” the Grammy-winning musician said in a statement. “He had rarely, if ever, seen such a small but very aggressive cancerous malignancy that could be defeated by a single surgery.

“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,” he added. “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.”

The 63-year-old singer was in the midst of a European tour when he disclosed the diagnosis Friday, and the previous night he performed nearly two dozen songs during a concert in the Netherlands.

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“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,” Mr. Costello said. “My apologies go to our ticket holders in Manchester, Pula, Graz, Vienna, Tysnes and Rattvik but I would rather disappoint our friends there by not appearing than in pressing on with a show that is compromised and eventually puts my health at risk.”

The British-born musician, known for hits including “Allison” and “Oliver’s Army,” expects to resume touring later this year. He is scheduled to perform at Riot Fest in Chicago in September, and a U.S. tour is slated to start Nov. 2 in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Born Declan MacManus in 1954, his debut album as Elvis Costello, “My Aim is True,” has sold more than a million copies in the U.S. since its release in 1977. He received the first of 14 Grammy nominations the following year in the category of Best New Artist, and he won the award for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals in 1998 for a tune he recorded with songwriter and composer Burt Bacharach.