Fleetwood Mac has canceled 14 dates of its current world tour in light of news that longtime bassist John McVie has been diagnosed with cancer. Affected tour dates include their upcoming performances in Australia and New Zealand.
McVie, 67, is loosely credited as one of the group’s founding members, and a portmanteau of his surname along with drummer Mick Fleetwood’s, formed the name for the band. McVie has not specified what type of cancer he has, and the band has said only that they would halt touring so that he could receive treatment.
“Fleetwood Mac who has just completed the European leg of their phenomenally successful worldwide tour has announced the cancellation of their upcoming 14 date tour of Australia and New Zealand,” the band said in a statement released on their Facebook page. "We are sorry to not be able to play these Australian and New Zealand dates. We hope our Australian and New Zealand fans as well as Fleetwood Mac fans everywhere will join us in wishing John and his family all the best.”
The news has prompted an outpouring of support and well wishes from fans across social media. The initial Facebook announcement received nearly 17,000 likes within 24 hours, and thousands of fans flocked to the comments section with messages like “God Bless John, I’m pulling for you.” One fan even wrote in to say that she was organizing a fundraiser on the night of one of the canceled shows in McVie’s honor.
“I had tickets for Brisbane on 2nd Dec and I have now decided to turn my night into something special,” another Facebook user wrote. “A few friends and I are going to get together and have a Craft and Cupckae [sic] for Cancer night on that night and play Fleetwood Mac music all night. All the proceeds we will donate to our Local Cancer Treatment Centre in Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia. X”
Fleetwood Mac announced their current reunion tour in 2012, after a three year touring hiatus. In an interview with the Huffington Post, singer Stevie Nicks said the long interim between touring was partly due to her own solo record and partly because she believed that a reunion should be special, saying that the band "should be off the road for three years because then when we come together it's an event because you didn't just see us last year or the year before."
McVie was also previously married to the band's singer and keyboardist Christine McVie from 1968 to 1977. Christine McVie recently performed together with the band during their current reunion tour, 15 years after her last performance with them for their induction into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame.
The band has not yet confirmed whether or not they will play a scheduled show in Las Vegas on Dec. 30.