Sir Elton 'doing fine' after E. coli leaves the Rocket Man grounded

Shows with Billy Joel cancelled as superstar recovers in hospital
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The Independent Culture

Sir Elton John was receiving treatment in hospital yesterday after contracting a "serious" case of E. coli infection while suffering from a bout of influenza.

The 62-year-old star, who continues to perform a punishing live concert schedule, was forced to postpone forthcoming shows with fellow rock legend Billy Joel in the United States later this month. It follows his pulling out of four dates in England and one in Ireland last week due to ill health. His last live show was in Barcelona on 20 October.

Sir Elton is being treated at the exclusive King Edward VII hospital in London, a favourite of the Royal family, where he was admitted after his condition deteriorated on Friday. He was visited over the weekend by his partner David Furnish who told reporters as he left the hospital on Saturday: "He's OK. He's fine."

A spokesman for the singer also insisted the star was on the road to recovery. "He is recovering from a case of serious influenza with minor complications. We are confident he will be back on stage in the near future," the spokesman said.

Sir Elton was advised to pull out of the latest shows with Joel on the advice of doctors. The duo have been performing to packed stadiums since embarking on their Face 2 Face collaboration in the summer. The British-born songwriter was taking time out from his long-running Red Piano tour, now on its fifth leg – which has included more than 100 sell out dates at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas.

He has announced plans for more shows in South Africa next year before what is billed to be his only UK date of 2010 at Watford FC – the club where he was made honorary life president.

In 1987, he underwent throat surgery to remove potentially cancerous nodules from his vocal cords while on tour. It was initially blamed on an infection but the star later said it was due to long-standing drug abuse. Sir Elton endured 16 years of alcoholism, drug and junk food addiction before seeking help. He has suffered from bulimia and attempted suicide at the height of his success.

Twelve years later there were fresh health fears when he was taken from France to The Wellington Hospital in London to be fitted with a pacemaker when he was found to have an irregular heartbeat.

Poor health meant he was unable to attend the funeral of Boyzone star Stephen Gately.