George Michael Axes Australian Tour Due to ‘Major Anxiety’
The British singer has canceled his Australian tour to seek treatment for “major anxiety” he’s suffered since his life-threatening bout with pneumonia last winter.
In a statement on his website Saturday, Michael said it “breaks my heart” to abandon his concert commitments. “By way of explanation, all I can say at this time is that since last year’s illnes,s I have tried in vain to work my way through the trauma that the doctors who saved my life warned me I would experience,” he wrote. “They recommended complete rest and the type of post- traumatic counseling which is available in cases like mine.”
Last November, Michael came down with a critical case of pneumonia while in Austria, compelling him to call off the outstanding European dates of his Symphonica tour. Despite bouncing back to resume that tour and even perform at London Olympic Games closing ceremony, Michael believes he didn’t fully anticipate the lingering aftereffects of his illness.
“Unfortunately,” he wrote, “I seriously underestimated how difficult this year would be.”
“I’m afraid I believed (wrongly) that making music and getting out there to perform for the audiences that bring me such joy would be therapy enough in itself,” he wrote. “Although I was right to believe that the shows would bring me great happiness and that my voice would recover completely (I truly think that some of my recent performances have been my best ever) I was wrong to think I could work my way through the major anxiety that has plagued me since I left Austria last December.”
While Michael will still hit the stage in the UK this month, he has cancelled all nine of the scheduled performances in Australia, where he was to be the opening act for the new Perth Arena on Nov. 10. Elton John, who was lined up for Perth on Nov. 12, will now replace Michael and play two dates at the Arena.
“All that’s left for me to do is apologise to my wonderful Australian fan base,” he wrote, “and to promise faithfully that as soon as I completed these shows here in the UK I will receive the treatment which is so long overdue.”