Eddie Izzard has been forced to abandon his attempt to complete 27 marathons in 27 days in South Africa due to "unforeseen medical complications".
The comedian and actor, who completed 43 marathons in 51 days for Sport Relief in 2009, took on his latest challenge as a tribute to Nelson Mandela, with each marathon representing one of the 27 years Mandela spent in prison. But the bid has been suspended after just four marathons, in the interests of Izzard's health.
"I have had to put my attempt on hold due to unforeseen medical complications that have arisen due to a multitude of factors including severe terrain, humidity and altitude," Izzard said in an online message to fans yesterday morning.
He said he was "sorry to let everyone down".
Izzard, 50, was also making a documentary about Mandela. His route was organised around significant locations from the 93-year-old former South African President's life, beginning in Mandela's birthplace in the Eastern Cape and encompassing Johannesburg, Cape Town and Robben Island.
Despite the setback, Izzard pledged to complete the challenge at a later date. "I owe that to Nelson Mandela, who has inspired the world to struggle and succeed no matter what obstacles are thrown at us," he said. Donations in support of the attempt, organised by Comic Relief, have been directed to aid organisations targeting poverty in South Africa.