Sir Elton John is to embark on a three-year farewell world tour as he bows out of live performing to spend more time with his children.
The 70-year-old hitmaker – who has been touring for almost 50 years – announced his retirement on Wednesday evening ahead of a celebratory concert next week at Madison Square Garden in New York.
He will kick off a mammoth 300-date Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour in the US in September before arriving in the UK and Europe in April 2019.
The yellow brick road leads to... The #EltonFarewellTour!— Elton John (@eltonofficial) January 24, 2018
Get tickets for Elton's final tour and watch the incredible Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour launch video at https://t.co/fEQsOiiRjO. pic.twitter.com/pyiPP3KHuN
Announcing the decision, Sir Elton said his “priorities have changed”, adding that his and husband David Furnish’s two sons, Elijah and Zachary, had changed their lives.
“In 2015 we sat down with a school schedule and I thought I don’t want to miss too much of this … My life has changed, my priorities have changed and my priority now is my family.”
He added it was a chance “to say thank you to all my fans around he world and then to say goodbye. It doesn’t mean I’m not going to be creative any more.
“I have had a good run … I want to go out with a bang,” he added during the press conference in New York which he opened with a performance of Tiny Dancer and I’m Still Standing.
Asked if he could later reconsider his decision, Sir Elton vowed not to do a “Cher”, adding: “This is the end”.
He rejected claims it was down to health problems he had experienced in recent years.
His current Las Vegas residency is scheduled to run until May 19, while he is also billed to play two dates in Georgia in June and July before embarking on the tour in September.
On Sunday, the veteran musician is to perform one of his classic hits alongside Miley Cyrus at the Grammy Awards where he will collect the President’s Merit Award.
Meanwhile, a special tribute concert, Elton John: I’m Still Standing will see tributes from Cyrus, Kesha, John Legend, Chris Martin, Sam Smith as well as a performance from Sir Elton himself.
Last year, Sir Elton was forced to cancel a series of shows when he contracted a bacterial infection.
The singer became “violently ill” during a flight home from Santiago, Chile and was admitted to hospital where he spent two nights in intensive care.
Following his return to home, he had to cancel the May and April dates in his Las Vegas residency.
It was not the first time ill health stopped the veteran musician from taking to the stage.
In 1999, he was fitted with a pacemaker when doctors found he had an irregular heartbeat, while in 2013 the star performed 10 concerts in pain before cancelling the rest of his tour, including a headline slot at London’s Hyde Park, after being diagnosed with appendicitis.
At the time, Sir Elton said he felt “grateful to be alive”, revealing that he could have died at any time while struggling through his European tour unaware he was suffering from the condition.
In 2012, he cancelled a number of shows as a result of a respiratory infection which struck him during a series of US dates.
He also missed concerts due to a bout of food poisoning.
Sir Elton’s last original studio album was 2016’s Wonderful Crazy Night – the 30th of his career.
He is reportedly working on the soundtrack for next year’s remake of the Lion King alongside Beyonce.