Ex-Beatle Paul McCartney cancels Japan tour over illness

A fan takes a photo of a banner of singer Paul McCartney after the cancellation of McCartney's concert at the National Stadium in Tokyo May 18, 2014. Former Beatle Paul McCartney has cancelled his Japan tour due to illness, organisers said on Tu
A fan takes a photo of a banner of singer Paul McCartney after the cancellation of McCartney's concert at the National Stadium in Tokyo May 18, 2014. Former Beatle Paul McCartney has cancelled his Japan tour due to illness, organisers said on Tuesday, days after he apologised to fans for missing a pair of weekend concerts. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS

TOKYO (AFP) - Former Beatle Paul McCartney has cancelled his Japan tour due to illness, organisers said on Tuesday, days after he apologised to fans for missing a pair of weekend concerts.

The 71-year-old English pop veteran - one of two living members of The Beatles - had already cancelled planned performances at the National Stadium in Tokyo on Saturday and Sunday, after coming down with an unspecified virus.

He "will regrettably have to cancel the remaining Japanese shows. Paul is still not feeling better and this cancellation is unavoidable", organiser Kyodo Tokyo said in a statement.

A company spokesman said the music legend was "staying at a hotel in Tokyo and doctors are with him", but added that it was "unclear" if he would still perform at a South Korean tour scheduled for May 28.

McCartney had planned to play a concert at another venue in Tokyo on Wednesday and the last one in Osaka on Saturday as part of his Out There world tour.

There were also plans for a Monday show to make up for the cancelled Saturday event.

Among McCartney's dates in the Japanese capital was a show at the Nippon Budokan Hall, which would have marked his first return to the venue since appearing there with The Beatles in 1966.

"I was really looking forward to playing in Japan again after we had such an amazing time here in November," McCartney was quoted as saying in the statement.

"So, to cancel these shows as well as the National Stadium shows is hugely disappointing for me as well," he said.

"I'd like to thank my Japanese fans for their love, messages of support and understanding. I hope to see you all again soon. Love, Paul," he added.

In an earlier tour of Japan in November last year, McCartney was seen singing 39 songs non-stop without retreating backstage.

The major-selling Asahi newspaper, citing people familiar with the situation, said McCartney's condition was improving but he was still too unwell to perform on stage.

Organisers said they were exploring "all possibilities" to reschedule the four-date Japan tour.

The musician flew into Tokyo after a short rest at home in London following a strenuous South American tour.

The Nippon Budokan Hall show had set aside 100 seats for those aged under 25 at 1,500 yen (S$18) each, the same price as they were 48 years ago.

The rest of the tickets for the concert, originally scheduled for May 21, were priced at up to 100,000 yen.

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