Elton John is recovering in hospital from a serious case of e-coli bacterial infection and influenza that forced him to cancel a string of concerts, but he hoped to return to the stage soon, a spokesman said on Monday.

British pop star John, 62, postponed five gigs in England and Ireland starting with an October 23 date in Sheffield, and has also pulled out of three U.S. concerts scheduled for November 4, 7 and 10 at which he was to appear with Billy Joel.

His spokesman Gary Farrow confirmed that the singer of hits including Goodbye Yellow Brick Road and Rocket Man was in hospital for his condition but that he was absolutely fine.

He added that John, one of the most successful recording artists with album sales estimated at more than 200 million, hoped to be back on the road and rejoining Joel on November 14. Joel is due to perform on that date at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California.