Former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr cancels US tour over family illness

Guitarist Johnny Marr, whose intricate guitar work helped shape rock music from the post-punk era in the 1980s, scrapped a concert on Monday night in Seattle along with nine other West Coast dates. -- PHOTO: AFP
Guitarist Johnny Marr, whose intricate guitar work helped shape rock music from the post-punk era in the 1980s, scrapped a concert on Monday night in Seattle along with nine other West Coast dates. -- PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (AFP) - Guitarist Johnny Marr, whose former Smiths bandmate Morrissey is notorious for cancelling shows, has called off the rest of his United States tour citing an illness in his family.

Marr, whose intricate guitar work helped shape rock music from the post-punk era in the 1980s, scrapped a concert Monday night in Seattle along with nine other West Coast dates.

The 51-year-old Manchester native said he was "disappointed" as he had been enjoying the tour, which was supporting his second solo album, "Playland". "If it was about just me being unwell I would've found a way to continue as I did when I broke my hand earlier in the year, but to not be there for one of my family is not right," Marr wrote on his website.

Marr did not specify the illness other than to say it was "serious" and involved a close family member.

The Smiths in five years developed a massive fan base of sensitive, alienated youth drawn to Morrissey's brooding introspection which often belied Marr's energetic delivery.

After a series of projects including collaborations with Modest Mouse and The The, Marr has won acclaim for his two solo albums in which he finally takes over as vocalist. He opened his latest US tour on November 9 in Washington and played two sold-out dates in New York.

Morrissey, known for the poetic temperament, has postponed or canceled US shows for the three past years.

After his most recent cancellation, Morrissey said that he had received cancer treatment. He is back on the road in Europe and has rescheduled for next week concerts he delayed in Athens and Istanbul.