Vocal cord cyst silences Meat Loaf but veteran rocker pledges return

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The rock singer Meat Loaf cancelled his European tour yesterday after being diagnosed with a cyst on his vocal cords but he dismissed reports that he would never perform again.

Meat Loaf, 60, who was to play at Wembley last night, had already postponed gigs in Birmingham and Manchester after being diagnosed with acute laryngitis and had been advised to rest by doctors. But after being ordered to rest his voice, he cancelled the European leg of the "Three Bats" tour.

"It really breaks my heart not to be able to perform these shows," he said. "I was really looking forward to capping off a great year and celebrating the start of the holidays with the fans. But I have to do what the doctors tell me so I can look forward to healing and coming back strong in 2008. Let me dispel any rumours before they start; I will be back."

The American singer, whose last successful show of the tour was in Glasgow last month, was to take the high-voltage, two-hour performance to Denmark, Norway, Sweden and the Netherlands after playing in Britain, then before returning for gigs in Northern Ireland, Manchester and Birmingham for concerts at the end of the month.

Speculation had surrounded the tour since Meat Loaf last week cut short a gig in Newcastle after just 70 minutes, during which his voice seemed weaker. His fans were left inconsolable after he was quoted as calling it "the last show I may ever do in my life", reportedly adding: "I can no longer continue. I take my coat off and thank you for 30 years."

Meat Loaf's promoters had said he was suffering from "exhaustion and stress". His management later said he had laryngitis and had been ordered to rest by doctors.

Meat Loaf, born Marvin Lee Aday, expressed his "devastation" over his unfinished show in Newcastle. "Performing for my fans is the most important thing in the world to me," he added. "Over the years, I've gone on stage with a broken foot and an arrhythmic heart. It was devastating having to come off stage in Newcastle but over time, I've reluctantly learned that I have to abide by what the doctors tell me to do."

The singer has an "inter-vocal cord cyst". Doctors will determine in about four to six weeks what further action may be required.

His career has spawned some of the largest-selling albums on record, and he has broken several records for chart duration. His debut album, Bat out of Hell, has sold 37 million copies and after 30 years, it still sells 200,000 copies a year.