Elvis Costello reveals cancer diagnosis but plans return

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NEW YORK (AFP) - Pop icon Elvis Costello revealed on Friday (July 6) that he has been treated for cancer but expects a full recovery and announced plans to release his first album in five years.

The 63-year-old singer and guitarist, who emerged from London's post-punk scene through erudite songs packed with wordplay, said he was cancelling the remaining dates on his European tour this month.

"Six weeks ago my specialist called me and said, 'You should start playing the Lotto.' He had rarely, if ever, seen such a small but very aggressive cancerous malignancy that could be defeated by a single surgery," Costello said in a statement on his website.

He did not specify the type of cancer affecting him.

But the singer of hits such as Alison and Veronica said that he needed three to four weeks to recover and had reluctantly concluded, after going ahead with initial dates, that he should not be touring.

"But I would rather disappoint our friends there by not appearing than in pressing on with a show that is compromised and eventually puts my health at risk," he said.

Costello also announced that he had finished a "magnificent new record" with his back-up band, The Imposters, and unspecified other collaborators which he expected to be released in October.

The album would be his first since 2013's Wise Up Ghost, on which he worked with the jazz-infused Philadelphia hip-hop ensemble The Roots.

Costello is scheduled to play in September in Chicago at Riot Fest, which focuses on punk and alternative rock, before a wider North American tour in November.

Costello in 2015 released a nearly 700-page memoir, Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink, in which the singer with nerdy glasses and a gap in his teeth - whose Elvis stage-name was initially a self-deprecating joke - related his surprise over his rise to stardom.

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