Elton John was forced to cut short a concert in New Zealand after falling ill with walking pneumonia, according to the BBC and multiple news outlets. The singer, who is continuing his multi-year farewell tour, lost his voice mid-way through his set at Auckland’s Mount Smart Stadium on Sunday.
“I’ve just completely lost my voice. I can’t sing,” he told the crowd. “I’ve got to go. I’m sorry.” He then appeared to weep as he leaned on his piano and shook his head before leaving the stage.
Despite its ominous name, walking pneumonia is a relatively mild form of the illness that is generally caused by a lung infection caused by bacteria or viruses that is similar to a serious cold — but would certainly make a two-hour concert difficult.
According to the report, John was checked by a medic midway through the show and performed multiple songs, including “Candle in the Wind” and “All the Girls Love Alice,” but had to give up the ghost as his voice abandoned him during his 1972 hit “Daniel.”
He later apologized to fans in a social media post. “I played and sang my heart out, until my voice could sing no more. I’m disappointed, deeply upset and sorry. I gave it all I had. Thank you so much for your extraordinary support and all the love you showed me during tonight’s performance. I am eternally grateful. Love, Elton xx,” he wrote.
He is scheduled to play two more concerts in Auckland on Tuesday and Thursday.