Metallica frontman James Hetfield has entered a rehabilitation facility for alcoholism and "other addictions," the band announced Thursday on its Web site.
Metallica, who began work on their eighth studio album in April, have halted all activities including a launch party for metallica.com planned for July 29 while Hetfield undergoes treatment.
The singer/guitarist will continue treatment "until further notice," the posting said.
Metallica spokesperson Gayle Fine confirmed the posting came from the band but had no additional comment. An Elektra Records spokesperson also had no comment.
The note states: "We have always thought of you all as family and wanted you to know before this information gets out through other sources. James is working hard toward recovery and, needless to say, he has our full support. We trust that you will appreciate the sensitive nature of this matter and respect our wishes to give James the time and privacy he needs to deal with his problems.
"Until then, thank you in advance for keeping James in your thoughts and prayers, and we look forward to continuing to share music with you in the future."
Just last week Backstreet Boy A.J. McLean entered rehab for depression and alcoholism (see "Backstreet Boys Postpone Tour As A.J. McLean Seeks Treatment").
Metallica, whose hard-partying ways earned them the nickname Alcoholica, had been working on their first album since 1998's double-disc collection of covers, Garage Inc. The band has not yet replaced bass player Jason Newsted, who announced his departure in January after 14 years with the band (see "Bassist Jason Newsted Leaves Metallica").
Last week the group said it had settled out of court with file-sharing service Napster, which it sued for copyright infringement last year ("Metallica, Dre Settle With A Wounded Napster").