The band has cancelled all of its scheduled activities, which also included a July 29th party to mark the re-launch of their official Web site, www.metallica.com. The nixed recording sessions were to have produced the band’s first studio album of new material since 1997’s Reload.
“James is working hard toward recovery and needless to say he has our full support,” read a statement from the band on the official site. “We trust you will appreciate the sensitive nature of this matter, and respect our wishes to give James the time and privacy he needs to deal with his problems. Thank you in advance for keeping James in your thoughts and prayers, and we look forward to continuing to share music with you in the future.”
Hetfield’s troubles echo the statement issued by former Metallica bassist Jason Newsted in January, when he left the band. Newsted cited “private and personal reasons, and the physical damage that I have done to myself over the years while playing the music that I love.”