Metallica cancel tour after lead singer James Hetfield returns to rehab

Amy Harris/Invision/AP
Amy Harris/Invision/AP

Metallica have cancelled their upcoming tour after frontman James Hetfield returned to rehab.

The band said it was cancelling all the dates they were due to play in Australia and New Zealand.

A statement from the remaining band members - Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett and Robert Trujillo - was posted to their social media, apologising to fans.

The announcement came on the anniversary of the death of former bassist Cliff Burton, who died on September 27, 1986 after he was thrown from a tour bus window when the vehicle skidded on black ice in Sweden.

Hetfield, 56, was particularly affected by the death of the his bandmate.

It said: “We are truly sorry to inform our fans and friends that we must postpone our upcioming tour of Australia and New Zealand.

"As most of you probably know, our brother James has been struggling with addiction on and off for many years.

"He has now, unfortunately, had to re-enter a treatment program to work on his recovery again.

"We fully intend to make our way to your part of the world as soon as health and schedule permit.

"Once again, we are devastated that we have inconvenienced so many of you, especially our most loyal fans who often travel great distances to experience our shows.

"We appreciate your understanding and support for James and, as always, thank you for being a part of our Metallica family.”