Singer Daniel O'Donnell has announced he will take an extended break from music after realising that “life is short” following his wife’s cancer diagnosis.
He said he had “taken stock of things” following Majella's illness and treatment, which included a double mastectomy last week.
The Donegal star said he would make his final performance in February 2015 and would likely not perform again until “at least” the middle of 2016.
“We thank God that Majella's treatment and surgery has been successful,” he said. “Through all of this we have had a lot of time to reflect and take stock of things and it makes us realise that life is short.
“I want to let you know at this point that I have decided to take an extended break from touring after the Gertrude Byrne Caribbean cruise finishes next February.
“I can’t really say how long the break will be, but there will be no shows until at least the middle of 2016,” he told fans via his website.
He stressed that he was not retiring, just taking “a sabbatical”.
Speaking on ‘The Late Late Show’ last night, his wife Majella said she was feeling great and Daniel was taking a break from touring for at least 18 months. Majella revealed she insisted that Daniel continue with his current concerts in Australia and New Zealand rather than cancel them to be with her at the time of her surgery.
“We’ll just spend the time together – at least 18 months. It was his decision. We might do a long cruise. For Daniel it will be amazing not to be thinking about ticket sales,” she said. She added that, during her illness, Daniel “really cemented himself as my soulmate. He is so sensitive”.
It was her decision that Daniel not stop touring during her treatment.
“I don’t like to be fussed over,” she said. Her double mastectomy took five hours and she is on “plenty of painkillers”, but she was feeling very well mentally, she said.
Daniel said it was a very big decision to take a break. “But there are a number of things that Majella and I want to do and even if we live to be 90 (which I hope we do), I don’t want to have to say ‘I wish we took the time to do such and such'.”