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Metallica cancels upcoming tour as lead singer James Hetfield enters rehab

James Hetfield
James Hetfield performs in 2013 in San Diego. Kevin Winter

Metallica is postponing its upcoming tour in Australia and New Zealand until its lead vocalist is healthy again, the legendary heavy metal band announced Friday. James Hetfield has re-entered rehab.

"As most of you probably know, our brother James has been struggling with addiction on and off for many years," the band wrote in a heartfelt message to fans. "He has now, unfortunately, had to re-enter a treatment program to work on his recovery again."

The tour was scheduled to begin in Perth, Australia, on October 17 and end on November 2 in Auckland, New Zealand. Drummer Lars Ulrich, guitarist Kirk Hammett and bassist Robert Trujillo said the band intends to travel to the planned tour locations "as soon as health and schedule permit." 

"Once again, we are devastated that we have inconvenienced so many of you, especially our most loyal fans who travel great distances to experience our shows," the statement said. "We appreciate your understanding and support for James & thank you for being a part of our Metallica family."

Hetfield's struggle with alcohol and addiction was detailed in the 2004 documentary, "Some Kind of Monster." He went into rehab in 2001 and has since expressed his desire to stay sober.  

The band said they are fully refunding all tickets and apologized to the fans. 

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