Legendary songwriter and performer Neil Diamond shocked his fans on Monday announcing that he would be retiring from touring due to a recent diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease. Diamond, 76, had been scheduled to perform in Australia and New Zealand on his 50th Anniversary Tour. Those dates have been canceled and will be refunded at the point of sale.
“It is with great reluctance and disappointment that I announce my retirement from concert touring” said Diamond in a release posted on NeilDiamond.com. “I have been so honored to bring my shows to the public for the past 50 years. My sincerest apologies to everyone who purchased tickets and were planning on coming to the upcoming shows.”
Diamond will be celebrated on January 28 with The Recording Academy’s Lifetime Achievement Award. While his touring will be halted due to the difficulties of the advancement of the disease, Diamond intends to continue to write, record and release music.
Inducted into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame in 1984 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011, Diamond got his start as a songwriter in New York in the 1960s, then grew into one of the most popular singers of the 1970s, penning hits like “Sweet Caroline” – which still receives regular airplay and has become an anthem for Boston Red Sox fans, due to the song’s being played at Fenway Park during the 7th inning stretch.
His popularity has also propelled him into a number of pop culture moments, including performing during The Band’s farewell concert (and Martin Scorcese’s film) The Last Waltz, and more recently in the film Saving Silverman, which saw its main characters perform as members of a Neil Diamond cover band with a cameo by the man himself late in the action.
“My thanks goes out to my loyal and devoted audiences around the world,” Diamond says. “You will always have my appreciation for your support and encouragement. This ride has been ‘so good, so good, so good’ thanks to you.”