U2 frontman Bono was saved from possible paralysis, it was revealed yesterday, as full details of his emergency back surgery emerged.
U2 manager Paul McGuinness said the superstar singer was deeply concerned he had badly let down more than a "million ticket buyers" as it emerged the band was postponing the North American leg of their tour and cancelling next month's Glastonbury appearance.
The rock icon is now on doctors' orders to start a rehabilitation programme and to recuperate for the next eight weeks at least.
Only emergency surgery saved the singer from possible paralysis after he injured his back during rehearsals for the second leg of the lucrative U2 360 Tour.
Bono, who recently celebrated his 50th birthday, was yesterday discharged from the Ludwig Maximilians-University (LMU) Hospital in Munich, Germany, after undergoing the vital emergency surgery on Friday.
The two-month rehabilitation programme and rest means the postponement of 16 shows from Salt Lake City on June 3 through to New Jersey's Meadowlands Stadium on July 19.
It has also ruled them out of playing next month's 40th anniversary of the Glastonbury Festival.
"I'm heartbroken. We really wanted to be there to do something really special -- we even wrote a song especially for the festival," Bono said on the band's website yesterday.
Glastonbury organiser Michael Eavis last night said it was too early to comment on possible replacements for the headline act as he wished Bono a speedy recovery.
Tour promoters Live Nation confirmed the 16 North American shows would be rescheduled for 2011. Fans have been told to hold on to their tickets.
U2 manager McGuinness, speaking at the hospital in Munich, said Bono and the rest of the band members -- the Edge, Larry Mullen and Adam Clayton -- were all devastated as they believed what was their biggest and best tour had been interrupted.
"For a performer who lives to be on stage, this is more than a blow. He feels robbed of the chance to do what he does best and feels like he has badly let down the band and their audience. Which of course is nonsense," Mr McGuinness said.
"The most important thing right now is that Bono makes a full recovery."
Dr Hans-Wilhelm Muller-Wohlfahrt, a world-renowned sports injury specialist, also employed as the club doctor at Bayern Munich, yesterday painted a full picture of the paralysis-threatening injury.
"Bono suffered severe compression of the sciatic nerve. On review of his MRI scan, I realised there was a serious tear in the ligament and a herniated disc, and that conservative treatment would not suffice," he revealed.
On his recommendation Bono was then taken for emergency surgery with expert neurosurgeon Professor Jeorg Tonn at the Munich hospital.
Prof Tonn revealed Bono presented late last week with a sudden onset of the injury.
"He was already in severe pain with partial paralysis in the lower leg," he said. The exact details of the injury revealed the ligament surrounding the disc had an 8mm tear and during surgery it was discovered fragments had travelled into the spinal canal. "This surgery was the only course of treatment for full recovery and to avoid further paralysis. Bono is now much better, with complete recovery of his motor deficit. The prognosis is excellent but to obtain a sustainable result, he must now enter a period of rehabilitation," Professor Tonn cautioned.
Doctors' appeared to be warning that the singer may be laid up for longer than the two-month rehabilitation period.
"In our experience, this is the minimum time," Dr Muller-Wohlfahrt said.
Band management refused to reveal the precise financial implications of the postponement of 16 shows and the cancellation of their Glastonbury appearance.
Figures from 'Billboard' magazine revealed the band earned €80m from touring, record sales and other royalties in the US last year.
It is also expected to impact on promoters Live Nation who have signed a 12-year deal with the band.