Neil Diamond diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, retires from touring

Neil Diamond, one of the best-selling singers of all time, announced on Monday he was retiring from touring after being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.

Following his doctor's advice, the Brooklyn native, who turns 77 today, scrapped the Australia and New Zealand stops scheduled for March as part of a global tour to celebrate his 50th anniversary as a recording artist.

However, Diamond said in a statement that he plans to "remain active in writing, recording and other projects for a long time to come".

"It is with great reluctance and disappointment that I announce my retirement from concert touring. I have been so honoured to bring my shows to the public for the past 50 years," he added.

In a nod to his signature song Sweet Caroline, he said of his loyal fans: "This ride has been 'so good, so good, so good' thanks to you."

An inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Diamond will be honoured again on Sunday with a lifetime achievement award at the Grammys on Sunday.

Diamond recently appeared to be healthy when he showed up in a stocking cap on New Year's Eve in New York's Times Square to lead the packed crowd in a sing-along of Sweet Caroline.

He had already performed 55 shows on his 50th anniversary tour, filling arenas across North America and Europe. - AFP