American icon Neil Diamond announces his immediate retirement from touring after Parkinson's diagnosis

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      Neil Diamond has announced that his career as a touring musician is over, the 76-year-old American legend revealing on his website that he has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease.

      The news comes in the middle of the singer’s 50 Year Anniversary Tour, which included upcoming dates in Australia and New Zealand. Diamond played Vancouver on the tour last July.

      The following was posted on the website of the respected singer, songwriter, and actor:

      Legendary singer, songwriter and performer Neil Diamond today announced his retirement from touring due to his recent diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease. The onset of the disease has made it difficult to travel and perform on a large scale basis but will allow Mr. Diamond to continue his writing, recording and development of new projects. Based on his doctors’ advice, the third leg of Diamond’s 50th Anniversary tour, set to land in Australia and New Zealand this March, has been cancelled.

      It is with great reluctance and disappointment that I announce my retirement from concert touring. I have been so honored to bring my shows to the public for the past 50 years.

      Diamond added that he will continue to remain active creatively, pursuing writing and other projects.

      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.

      Over a career that has never flagged (his current tour had him playing hockey rinks, including Vancouver’s Rogers Arena) Diamond wrote some of the most enduring songs in the American songbook, including “Sweet Caroline”, “Song Sung Blue”, “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers”.

      He also proved a songwriter with a golden touch for other artists. Acts who had hits with Diamond included the Monkees (“I’m a Believer”), Elvis Presley ("And the Grass Won't Pay No Mind”), and Urge Overkill ("Girl You'll Be a Woman Soon"). His works have been covered by artists as diverse as Cliff Richard, UB40, Chris Isaak, and Deep Purple.

      Diamond enters semi-retirement as one of the best-selling artists of all-time with sales topping 75 million records. In what promises to be an extra-emotional ceremony, he's also scheduled to receive a lifetime achievement award at Sunday’s Grammy Awards ceremony.

      His fellow entertainers have been quick to pay their respects on Twitter.