Singer Cher was yesterday forced to cancel the final 29 concerts of her Dressed to Kill farewell tour despite a brave bid to return to the stage wearing a heart monitor.
The music icon (68), was struck by a potentially deadly viral infection in September and tweeted at the time to fans: "I'm so sorry. I don't cancel unless I can't get up. This virus is a killer."
She had planned to return to the road next month wearing a device to monitor her heart rate, but has been told by doctors this would be unwise. In a statement yesterday she said: "Nothing like this has ever happened to me. I sincerely hope we can come back again next year and finish what we started."
A later tweet by the If I Could Turn Back Time legend referred to her "gut-wrenching sadness of not being able to go on stage".
Cher is susceptible to infections since being diagnosed in 1986 with Epstein-Barr syndrome, an energy-sapping condition that can severely weaken immune systems.
At the time, the actress and singer, one of only a handful of performers to have won an Oscar, a Grammy and an Emmy award, declared: "I was so sick I thought I was going to die."
She is said to have been "absolutely shaken" by the latest viral infection and her spokeswoman said: "It affected her kidneys, which has delayed her recovery."
The spokeswoman also confirmed: "Cher has been wearing a 24-hour heart monitor. This is to ensure she continues her recovery."
A source close to the star said yesterday: "Her friends have been desperately worried. Acute viral infections like hers can cause irregular heartbeats, which is why she is wearing the monitor."