Veteran rocker due to fly back to the UK for tests

Status Quo have cancelled six concerts on their European tour because of illness affecting guitarist Rick Parfitt.

The group had been due to play on Saturday night in Pula, Croatia, but 65-year-old Parfitt was rushed to hospital the previous night and is expected to be flown back to the UK for tests today. Shows in Monte Carlo, Switzerland and Germany will also be cancelled, taking them up to August 10.

No details have been given, but band manager Simon Porter said Status Quo did not “cancel shows lightly”, adding: “In this instance we have no option but to follow medical advice.”

Parfitt had a quadruple heart bypass in 1997 after doctors said he was in danger of dying as a result of his lifestyle. After surgery, Parfitt said he was not planning on becoming a “born-again Christian” and would still have the “odd pint”.

Status Quo are due to perform in the UK later this month, and again in December, but as yet there is no word on whether those dates will be affected.

The band hold the record for the most singles, having recorded 64 since 1968. Parfitt and long-time band partner Francis Rossi were invested as OBEs by the Queen in 2010.