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Richie Sambora, Bon Jovi Guitarist, to Skip First Leg of Tour for "Personal Issues"

Richie sambora Jamie McCarthy/WireImage.com

It's his life and Richie Sambora has to take charge of it.

Bon Jovi has announced that the group will be hitting the road this spring without its founding guitarist.

"Due to personal issues, Richie Sambora will not be performing on this upcoming leg," read a statement on Bon Jovi's website. "All shows will go on as scheduled."

No word exactly what precipitated the ax man's decision, but it means he'll be MIA for a series of shows across the U.S. and Canada.

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The first leg of Bon Jovi's Because We Can tour is scheduled to kick off April 3 in Edmonton, Alberta, and will hit 14 cities including St. Paul, Minn., Austin, Texas, Los Angeles and Las Vegas before wrapping up on April 25 in San Jose, Calif.

The band then plans to head over to South Africa for a pair of dates in May, then hit Europe for two months of gigs before coming back in mid-July for a second U.S. jaunt, including two homecoming shows in East Rutherford, N.J., on July 24 and 25.

This isn't the first time personal problems have forced the 53-year-old Sambora to bail on his bandmates.

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The Lost Highway rocker skipped the first 13 stops on Bon Jovi's trek in spring 2011 to seek treatment for alcoholism. It was his third stint in rehab and came after Sambora received three years' probation after pleading no contest to drunken-driving charges.

While Richie's away, Bon Jovi will likely rely on a session musician to fill in for him.

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