Neil Diamond collapse on stage

Neil Diamond retires from touring after Parkinson’s diagnosis

Diamond, who is to receive a lifetime achievement Grammy, said he would continue writing and composing.

Neil Diamond, the pop music craftsman who ranks among the best-selling musical artists in history, is retiring from concert touring because of Parkinson’s disease, he said Monday.

Diamond, who turns 77 on Wednesday, revealed the recent diagnosis in a statement on his website announcing the cancellation of his March tour dates in Australia and New Zealand.

“It is with great reluctance and disappointment that I announce my retirement from concert touring,” Diamond said in the statement, which said Diamond’s condition “has made it difficult to travel and perform on a large scale basis but will allow Mr. Diamond to continue his writing, recording and development of new projects.”

Diamond — it’s his real name, not a stage name — began his career as a songwriter in the early 1960s, writing some of the Monkees’ biggest hits, including “I’m a Believer,” which topped the Billboard charts for seven weeks in 1966.

At the same time, he was recording some of his compositions as demos for record producers. The same year “I’m a Believer” hit No. 1, Diamond released the single “Solitary Man,” which hit the middle of the Billboard charts and was followed by “Cherry, Cherry,” a Top 10 smash that launched him on one of the most successful solo recording careers of the 20th century.

Diamond’s impeccably crafted, hard-to-stop-humming tunes dominated the pop charts for the next decade, as he turned out hit after hit — among them “Sweet Caroline,” “Cracklin’ Rosie,” “Song Sung Blue,” “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother,” “I Am, I Said,” “Play Me,” “Longfellow Serenade” and “Forever in Blue Jeans,” along with “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers,” a No. 1 duet with Barbra Streisand.

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