Bob Dylan Hospitalized With Life-Threatening Illness

European tour canceled after 56-year-old musician suffers chest pains.

Folk-rock legend Bob Dylan has been hospitalized with a

life-threatening illness after suffering severe chest pains last weekend,

Columbia Records said Wednesday.

Dylan, 56, who composed such classics as

"Like A Rolling Stone" "Mr. Tambourine Man" and "The Times They Are a-Changin'

" and is widely regarded as one of the most influential voices in rock history,

was diagnosed with histoplasmosis, a potentially fatal infection that results

in a swelling of the sac surrounding the heart. He is undergoing treatment and

will remain in the hospital indefinitely, according to a statement issued by

Larry Jenkins, a Columbia Records representative in New York.

Dr. David

Pegues, an infectious disease expert at UCLA Medical Center, told

Reuters that the fungus that causes histoplasmosis is quite common in

some regions of the U. S. "If untreated, sure it could kill him," said Pegues,

"but it's an eminently treatable and curable illness, and I'm sure Mr. Dylan

has the best medial supervision."

A statement from publicists in Britain,

where Dylan was scheduled to tour this summer, said that the '60s icon, whose

son Jakob leads the currently hot band, the Wallflowers, whose second album,

Bring Down the Horse,, has sold over two million copies, "is undergoing

treatment and will remain hospitalized in the care of his physicians until such

time as they feel confident that his condition has improved, after which time

there will need to be a period of recuperation."

Another spokesperson for

Columbia who preferred anonymity told ATN that the label did not know where

Dylan is hospitalized or for how long he will remain under a doctor's watch.

In the wake of his illness, Dylan's upcoming tour of Ireland, the U.K.,

and Switzerland has been canceled. It is uncertain whether the shows will be

rescheduled, according to the statement. Ticket holders are asked to check with

their local ticket distributor for refund policies.

"We are hopeful that we

will be able to replay these shows at some later date,'' added the

statement.

Columbia is keeping an August tour of the U.S. on the calendar,

saying "we are optimistic we will be able to fulfill those touring

commitments."