In a statement published on their site, band members Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett and Robert Trujillo said: “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. We’ll let you know as soon as we can.
“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.”
In a separate statement, Metallica pledged to refund all tickets sold for their WorldWired tour, which was scheduled to begin 17 October in Perth and conclude 2 November in Auckland. Details can be found here.
Hetfield’s battles with addiction and alcoholism have been well-documented, notably in the 2004 documentary Metallica: Some Kind of Monster, which chronicled Hetfield’s first attempt at rehabilitation.
In 2017, during an appearance on The Joe Rogan Experience podcast, Hetfield said that he had been sober for 15 years, and that fear was the “big motivator” in his decision to get clean.
“Losing my family, that was the thing that scared me so much, that was the bottom I hit, that my family is going to go away because of my behaviours that I brought home from the road,” he said.