Music legend Paul McCartney has been treated in a Tokyo hospital for an illness that forced him to cancel a tour of Japan but is expected to make a full recovery, his representatives said Friday.
Fans and well-wishers had thronged to the 71-year-old singer-songwriter’s Tokyo hotel all week after he was taken sick with an undisclosed virus.
“Since contracting a virus last week that led the postponement of tour dates, Paul received successful medical treatment at a hospital in Tokyo,” a statement from New York-based public relations company Nasty Little Man said.
“He will make a complete recovery and has been ordered to take a few days rest” before leaving Japan, the agency said.
“Paul has been extremely moved by all the messages and well wishes he has received from fans all over the world,” it said.
McCartney arrived in Tokyo on May 15, due to play four sold-out dates in Tokyo and Osaka.
But after at first postponing the gigs, he later cancelled them, because of the unspecified illness which some Japanese news reports, citing unnamed sources, suggested was norovirus — a potentially nasty illness that causes diarrhoea and vomiting.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) calls norovirus “very contagious” and warns that up to 71,000 people are hospitalised because of it every year in the United States. Up to 800 people there die from it annually.
McCartney has also cancelled concerts in South Korea where he had been due to go after Japan.
The Japan cancellations generated an outpouring of good wishes from fans of the Liverpool-born musician — one of two living members of The Beatles.
A combined 170,000 people had been due to see his shows in Japan, which were part of his “Out There” world tour, according to local media, some paying as much as 100,000 yen ($1,000) for a ticket.
Among McCartney’s Tokyo dates was a show at the Nippon Budokan Hall, which would have marked his first return to the venue since appearing there with The Beatles in 1966.
In a tour of Japan in November last year, McCartney belted out 39 songs non-stop without retreating backstage.
The musician flew into Tokyo after a short rest at home in London following a strenuous South America tour.
In 1980, McCartney was arrested at a Tokyo airport for marijuana possession and was deported. That led to the cancellation of a Japan tour by Wings, the post-Beatles band fronted by the bassist.
A decade later in 1990, the justice ministry gave the green light to his return to the country, where The Beatles remain tremendously popular, not least as material in the ubiquitous karaoke bars and boxes.