LONDON, Nov. 13 (UPI) -- The 1980s pop group Culture Club has canceled its first U.S. and U.K. concert tour in 12 years.
Lead singer Boy George said in a statement on Facebook Thursday he has discovered a polyp in his throat and has been advised by doctors to rest his voice or risk doing "irreparable damage."
He and his fellow musicians were to kick off their tour Saturday in Rancho Mirage, Calif.
"By the time you read this, you will already be aware that due to serious issues with my throat, I have been forced to cancel both the U.S. and British tour with Culture Club," George said in his online post, a link to which he also tweeted.
"I have been having trouble with my voice on and off for a few months and my manager suggested that I see a top throat doctor in Los Angeles," the message continued.
"After having a series of cameras down my throat, it transpires that I have a polyp on one of my vocal cords, which has hemorrhaged and one of my vocal cords is unusually enlarged and won't close properly when I sing. In true British fashion, I have ignored it, thinking the problem might just be tiredness. I never thought to check my throat because I have spent a lifetime just 'getting on with it.'"
George went on to say doctors have cautioned him that to continue singing now might cause "irreparable damage."
"It's a risk I just cannot take," he explained.
Tribes, the group's latest album, is set for release early next year.
"I have already had a ton of wonderfully supportive messages from fans, who had planned to travel and I feel gutted to be letting people down. Such support makes my decision so much harder. To say I am devastated barely touches how I feel. I know that those of you who love and support me will understand that this is a decision I just had to make. I will definitely get better and see you all soon back on tour. Thank you for the love. It means everything."
Best known for its hits "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?" "Karma Chameleon," "I'll Tumble 4 Ya" and "Time (Clock of the Heart,)" the band broke up due to George's battle with drug and alcohol addiction, as well as his related brushes with the law. Culture Club has reunited several times over the years and appeared on the TV chat show The View last week where George said he is now clean and sober, and eager to get back on the road again with his band.