LOS ANGELES • Yoshiki, the force behind Japanese rockers X Japan who is known for such intense drumming that he sometimes collapses onstage, has cancelled upcoming shows to undergo urgent surgery.
The musician - whose group are among the biggest acts in Japanese music history, with fanatical fan followings in the 1980s and 1990s - will have treatment to receive an artificial cervical disc, his management said.
"Yoshiki has been informed by a neurosurgeon in Japan that his neck has experienced severe damage that would force a professional rugby player to retire.
"It has been medically determined that he is approaching his limit, both physically and mentally," a statement said.
"The operation is to be performed on May 16 at a Los Angeles hospital. Unfortunately, the cancellation of all scheduled activity in May could not be avoided."
The statement said the reunited X Japan would be reviewing July arena concerts in Japan and a subsequent global tour that has not yet been announced, with a decision later on whether the shows can be rescheduled or need to be axed.
The frail 51-year-old, whose full name is Yoshiki Hayashi, has suffered bone fractures since childhood.
However, he pursued such an aggressive brand of heavy metal drumming that he would often writhe in pain on the floor by the end of shows.