U2 Postpone U.S. Tour

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U2 Lead Singer Bono

REUTERS/Benjamin J. Myers

Proof that even rock stars are but mortal beings was confirmed Tuesday after the announcement that Bono’s bad back is causing the cancellation of U2’s North American tour.

The flamboyant frontman left the hospital in Germany after undergoing emergency surgery but the shows will not go on. And it makes for pretty brutal reading: 16 canned concerts between June 3 in Salt Lake City and July 19 in Meadowlands Stadium in New York.

And international fans will be in pain too as the group have had to scrap their headlining performance at the legendary Glastonbury festival in the U.K. “I’m heartbroken,” Bono said, “We really wanted to be there to do something really special.” He phoned Glastonbury organizer Michael Eavis (and 2009 TIME 100 honoree) to break the bad back news.

U2’s manager, Paul McGuinness, spoke to Reuters outside the Munich hospital, and said that Bono “feels awful” and the group are “devastated” about the postponements, which will affect over a million fans. “Clearly this is a serious injury and the recuperation time necessary to rehabilitate Bono is a big problem for the U2 tour and has unfortunately necessitated the postponement of 16 shows in North America,” said McGuinness. The earliest possible date for Bono’s return, according to the band’s website, is August 6 in Turin, Italy. And his neurosurgeon, Joerg Tonn, made clear that, “his prognosis is excellent but to obtain a sustainable result he must now enter a period of rehabilitation.”

You’d imagine that Live Nation, the music concert company which signed a 12-year deal to handle merchandising, digital and branding rights as well as touring, will be bemoaning that the so-called luck of the Irish has deserted both them and the band.