George axes his tour as fears grow over severe pneumonia

Melanie Finn

SUPERSTAR singer George Michael is battling a "severe" form of pneumonia after being forced to pull the plug on his tour.

The Freedom singer (48) was rushed to hospital with agonising chest pains earlier this week, just hours before he was due to take the stage in Vienna.

He has now postponed all 14 dates in his Symphonica tour, which he brought to Ireland three weeks ago.

A statement from his publicist last night said he has pneumonia and any other speculation was 'unfounded and untrue'.

Professor Dr Christoph Zielinski of the Medical University of Vienna said the star had severe pneumonia and was being treated as an inpatient at Vienna AKH hospital.

"His condition has stabilised and he is responding to treatment. The time until recovery cannot be estimated, but he will not be able to perform the rest of the tour. Besides medical treatment, complete rest and peace and quiet are mandatory," he said.

The former Wham! singer announced the 65-show tour of Europe in May -- three years after he said he would quit live performance.

He performed two dates here in Dublin's O2 arena at the start of this month.