Jack White's hand injury puts paid to the duo's scheduled Reading and Leeds shows...

White Stripes have pulled out of the CARLING WEEKEND: READING AND LEEDS festivals.

As previously revealed, the star suffered a fracture in his left hand in the accident last Wednesday (July 9), making it impossible to play guitar. White’s Hollywood star girlfriend Renee Zellweger was in the car with him at the time of the crash, though she was not injured.

Jack has just issued a statement exclusively to NME.COM, which reads: “The White Stripes would like to apologise most sincerely to the admirers of the band who have faithfully purchased tickets to see us perform in the midst of this, a most unfortunate accident.

“A bone in the index finger of my fretting hand was shattered in an automobile accident, making it absolutely impossible to play guitar, especially since I’ve been instructed by doctor’s that there is no way I can move my wrist until it is completely healed.

“The break did not heal properly, and surgery had to be performed. Three screws were placed in my finger to set the bones and insure complete recovery, three screws that will remain in my hand for life. I have provided a link on White Stripes’ website [url=]whitestripes.com to a film of the surgery on my finger for those admirers of the band with tickets to cancelled shows to better understand the complexity of the situation.

”Our shows from the ninth of July 2003 until the middle of September must all unfortunately be cancelled. This includes the festivals in the British isles, T in The Park, Witnness, Reading, and Leeds. The real shame is that it is virtually impossible to make it up to those admirers who purchased tickets to those festivals with the sole intention of experiencing White Stripes live performance. We apologize to those people and hope that the other fine performers in the line ups will fulfill a lost space for you. As for the club touring dates we are currently doing our best to reschedule certain venues, but again misfortune prevails and we will simply have no time to make them all up. But we will do our best in the situation that we have been given. So, To those who care, or were wondering, Meg and myself sincerely apologize to you and hope to get through this set back with the blessings of God.”

Organisers Mean Fiddler have promised the pair will return next year to headline.

A statement reads: “We were regretfully informed by the White Stripes today that they have had to withdraw from this year’s festivals on doctor’s advice following Jack White’s recent traffic accident.

“I am sure that everyone going to the festivals will join us in wishing Jack a speedy recovery and we look forward to the White Stripes returning to headline at the 2004 Carling Weekend: Reading and Leeds Festivals.”

“Whilst we cannot replace the irreplaceable we hope to add to what is already a great bill on the Saturday at the Reading site and the Sunday at the Leeds site.”

What do you think of the band pulling out? E-mail news@nme.com.