Veteran pop diva Cher cancels tour to recover from kidney-related illness

New York (AFP) - Veteran arena-packing diva Cher has cancelled the rest of her tour as she recovers from a kidney illness.

The 68-year-old - who had announced in 2002 that she was retiring but has kept on performing - called off the more than 20 remaining concerts on her Dressed To Kill tour, including at New York's Madison Square Garden.

"I am totally devastated. Nothing like this has ever happened to me," said Cher, whose latest tour has been marked by elaborate productions, including repeated changes of wardrobe.

"I cannot apologize enough to all the fans who bought tickets." Cher had already postponed several shows in September. In the statement, her promoters said that the illness at the time was related to "an infection that affected her kidney function".

"While her progress has been consistent, Cher's doctors have advised her to take more time to ensure a complete and total recovery," said a statement issued late last week.

Cher, formerly one half of Sonny & Cher, spent two months on the road until July before a two-month break. She had added another 14 shows as she repeatedly sold out arenas.