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Neil Diamond retires from touring after being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease

The legendary singer announced he is retiring from touring after 50 years on his doctor's advice following a diagnosis of Parkinson's disease.
/ Source: TODAY

Neil Diamond has announced he will stop touring due to a diagnosis of Parkinson's disease.

The legendary singer and songwriter announced on his website Monday that the disease has made it difficult to travel and perform. He cancelled upcoming dates in Australia and New Zealand from his 50th anniversary tour.

Neil Diamond has announced he will retire from touring after 50 years on the road due to his struggle with Parkinson's disease. Kevin Mazur / WireImage

"It is with great reluctance and disappointment that I announce my retirement from concert touring,'' Diamond said in a statement. "I have been so honored to bring my shows to the public for the past 50 years. My sincerest apologies to everyone who purchased tickets and were planning to come to the upcoming shows.

"My thanks goes out to my loyal and devoted audiences around the world. You will always have my appreciation for your support and encouragement. This ride has been ‘so good, so good, so good’ thanks to you."

Diamond, shown in one of his signature sequin shirts on stage in 1977 in Los Angeles, says he plans to continue making music. Michael Ochs Archives

The announcement came three days before Diamond's 77th birthday on Thursday, and six days before he is set to receive a lifetime achievement award at Sunday's Grammy Awards.

He has sold more than 150 million albums in his career and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011. And while the "Sweet Caroline" singer is no longer touring, he said he will continue making music.

"I plan to remain active in writing, recording and other projects for a long time to come,'' he said.

Several of his fellow music luminaries expressed their support after learning the news.

Diamond is the latest Rock and Roll Hall of Famer dealing with a diagnosis of Parkinson's. Linda Ronstadt announced in 2013 that she is unable to sing because of the disease.

Diamond has been a longtime friend of TODAY, singing "Sweet Caroline," "Cracklin' Rosie" and other hits on Rockefeller Plaza in 2015. He described the inspiration behind his music in a 2012 interview.

"Well it kind of tells the story from my perspective of what the average person's life is like - getting up in the morning, going to work facing all the frustrations and difficulties that people face with the courage the people of today have, which is always inspiring to me,'' he said.

Follow writer Scott Stump on Twitter.