Australia's The Vines cancel shows due to singer's illness

Mon Nov 17, 2008 2:14pm EST
 
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SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australian rock band The Vines have canceled all their upcoming shows due to a deterioration in the mental condition of singer Craig Nicholls.

Nicholls, 31, was diagnosed four years ago with Asperger's Syndrome, a highly functioning form of autism, after his behavior became increasingly erratic.

"Craig Nicholls' mental condition has deteriorated extremely rapidly over the past month to the point where he requires immediate help over an extended period of time," the band said in a statement on their website.

The Sydney four-piece said they had canceled all festival appearances in Australia and a tour of Japan scheduled for November.

The band formed in the late 1990s and found international success with their 2001 debut album "Highly Evolved" which made the top 10 in Australia and Britain.

It was during the making of their second album, "Winning Days," that Nicholls' behavior became increasingly erratic and even violent.

After a two-year gap, the band re-emerged onto the live stage in 2006 and have since released two more albums.

"We are all absolutely devastated that we've been forced to cancel all upcoming shows as there's nothing we love more than playing on stage before an enthusiastic audience. We ask for your understanding in this situation," the band said.

(Reporting by Belinda Goldsmith, Editing by Miral Fahmy)