The good news is that after Friday's successful emergency back surgery, U2 singer Bono was discharged from Ludwig Maximilians-University Hospital in Munich on Monday. The bad news is that in order to recover fully, the 50-year-old singer (born Paul Hewson) is under doctor's orders to start a rehabilitation and recuperation program that will keep him sidelined for at least eight weeks, forcing the postponement of the band's 16 North American 360 Tour dates until 2011.
According to a statement from tour producer Live Nation, the concerts, which were to kick off in Salt Lake City on June 3 and run through a July 19 show at New Jersey's Meadowlands Stadium, have been pushed to an unspecified date next year.
"Bono suffered severe compression of the sciatic nerve," explained Dr. Muller Wohlfahrt, one of the singer's doctors. "On review of his MRI scan, I realized there was a serious tear in the ligament and a herniated disc, and that conservative treatment would not suffice. I recommended Bono have emergency spine surgery."
The surgeon who performed the procedure, Professor Joerg Christian Tonn, added, "Bono was referred to me by Dr. Muller Wohlfahrt late last week with a sudden onset disease. He was already in severe pain with partial paralysis in the lower leg. The ligament surrounding the disc had an 8mm tear and during surgery we discovered fragments of the disc had traveled into the spinal canal. This surgery was the only course of treatment for full recovery and to avoid further paralysis. Bono is now much better, with complete recovery of his motor deficit. The prognosis is excellent, but to obtain a sustainable result, he must now enter a period of rehabilitation."
The band's manager, Paul McGuinness, was at the hospital during the surgery and said the band was devastated that their tour was interrupted by this health crisis. "For a performer who lives to be on stage, this is more than a blow," McGuinness said in the statement. "He feels robbed of the chance to do what he does best and feels like he has badly let down the band and their audience. Which is of course nonsense. His concerns about more than a million ticket buyers whose plans have been turned upside down, we all share, but the most important thing right now is that Bono make a full recovery. We're working as fast as we can with Live Nation to reschedule these dates."
Fans are encouraged to hold onto their tickets and visit U2.com for updates on the rescheduled dates.
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