Huey Lewis and the News has been forced to cancel all of its 2018 tour dates because the singer is suffering from an inner ear disorder. The band announced the news on their website.
“Two and a half months ago, just before a show in Dallas, I lost most of my hearing,” Lewis said in a statement. “Although I can still hear a little, one on one, and on the phone, I can’t hear music well enough to sing. The lower frequencies distort violently making it impossible to find pitch.”
He added that he has tried to find answers at the House Ear Institute, the Stanford Ear Institute, and the Mayo Clinic. It’s believed he has what is known as Meniere’s disease, which according to the Mayo Clinic makes an individual feel as if he or she has vertigo and tinnitus (ringing in the ear). The disease is progressive and usually results in permanent loss of hearing.
Lewis and his doctors agreed he should stop performing until he shows some improvement. He added, “Therefore the only prudent thing to do is to cancel all future shows. Needless to say, I feel horrible about this and wish to sincerely apologize to all the fans who’ve already bought tickets and were planning to come see us. I’m going to concentrate on getting better, and hope that one day soon I’ll be able to perform again.”
The band was scheduled to perform in six shows this spring and summer, including one at San Francisco’s Outside Lands festival and several dates with Jimmy Buffet, according to Rolling Stone.
Lewis has received an outpouring of support from those around him. He wrote on Twitter: “The response from my colleagues, friends and fans has been truly overwhelming. And extremely heartening. It helps me to focus on improving, and finding a way to sing again. Thanks to everyone.”
One fan commented using a quote from one of the band’s hit songs: “The heart of rock and roll is still beating. You’ll be back!!!”
Lewis isn’t the only famous musician to battle the disease. Ryan Adams took a two-year break from touring in 2011 while coping with the ailment. He described the symptoms to Rolling Stone in 2014: “All of a sudden you start seeing double and then my hand starts shaking, and then it’s like you’re in an elevator and the bottom just drops out and your bones feel 1,000 pounds.”