23/01/2018 09:41 SAST | Updated 23/01/2018 09:50 SAST

U.S. Singer Neil Diamond Retires From Touring

Bestselling singer-songwriter has been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.

U.S. singer-songwriter Neil Diamond, one of pop music's all-time bestselling artists, has been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease and plans to retire from touring, his official website said on Monday.

Brendan McDermid / Reuters
Singer Neil Diamond performs on NBC's 'Today' show in New York October 20, 2014. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT)

The onset of the disease has made it difficult for him to travel and perform on a large-scale, a statement on the site said, adding he will be cancelling upcoming concert dates in Australia and New Zealand and offering refunds.

"It is with great reluctance and disappointment that I announce my retirement from concert touring. I have been so honoured to bring my shows to the public for the past 50 years," Diamond said in the statement, offering apologies to those who purchased tickets to his upcoming shows.

Diamond, known for hits including "Sweet Caroline" and "Cracklin' Rosie," said he plans to remain active in songwriting and recording.

Mario Anzuoni / Reuters
Honoree Neil Diamond performs a medley of his songs at the 2009 MusiCares Person of the Year gala in Los Angeles February 6, 2009. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni (UNITED STATES)

Later this week, Diamond will turn 77 and on Sunday the Recording Academy plans to honor him with its Lifetime Achievement Award.

Diamond has sold more than 130-million albums worldwide and 38 of his singles have made it to the Top 40, according to the academy.

Luke MacGregor / Reuters
U.S. singer Neil Diamond performs at the Glastonbury Festival 2008 in Somerset in south west England June 29, 2008. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor (BRITAIN)

Grammy-award winner Diamond, a fixture in American pop music since he began recording in the 1960s, has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

"My thanks goes out to my loyal and devoted audiences around the world. You will always have my appreciation for your support and encouragement," Diamond said.

"This ride has been 'so good, so good, so good' thanks to you," he said.

Reporting by Jon Herskovitz in Austin, Texas; Editing by Neil Fullick