Elvis Costello Battling "Very Aggressive" Cancer at Age 63

The musician has been forced to cancel the remaining six dates of his European tour

By Zach Johnson Jul 06, 2018 12:20 PMTags
Elvis CostelloSantiago Felipe/Getty Images

Elvis Costello, the legendary singer-songwriter, announced via Facebook Friday that he has been diagnosed with cancer. As a result, Costello had to cancel the remaining dates of his tour.

"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," the 63-year-old musician (born Declan Patrick MacManus) said. "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."

Costello had been scheduled to perform in Austria, Croatia, Norway, Sweden and the U.K. "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," he wrote. By the time he reached the Edinburgh Playhouse, "I was almost fooled into thinking that normal service had been resumed," he said. "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." Though he would have loved to perform for his fans through July 16, Costello added, "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."

Musicians Performing Live on Stage

The British artist thanked The Imposters' Davey Faragher, Steve Nieve and Pete Thomas "for all their deep friendship, love and support during this upsetting time." He also thanked Kitten Kuroi and Briana Lee, "whose beautiful voices have spurred me on to do the singing that I've managed, whatever the cost. It goes without saying that there are many others who have worked to get us to the stage and from town to town to whom I am also deeply grateful."

Wanting to leave fans with "some more optimistic news," Costello said he and The Imposters have "made a magnificent new record," set for release in October. "We will return at the soonest opportunity to play that music and your favorite songs that still make sense to us all."

Costello ended his statement by reminding fans to "take very good care of your loved ones." He also advised men to talk to their 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," the Grammy winner added. "It may save your life. Believe me, it is better than playing roulette."

For a full list of affected European tour dates, visit Costello's Facebook page.

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