British theatre mogul Andrew Lloyd Webber was forced to skip the 2013 Tony Awards on Sunday (09Jun13) due to ongoing health problems.
Lloyd Webber's celebrated musical The Phantom Of The Opera was feted at the glitzy ceremony in honour of its 25th year on Broadway, but its creator was unable to attend the bash.
The 65 year old reveals he has been in "constant pain" for the past eight months, and his health battle has prompted to him pull out of a number of important engagements, including the funeral of his close friend British director Michael Winner, who passed away earlier this year (Jan13).
In a statement posted on his website, Lloyd Webber writes, "I am devastated not to be able to attend the Tony Awards in New York tonight where The Phantom of the Opera is being honoured for its twenty-five years on Broadway. My colleagues felt that it is time to explain why I have been unable to participate fully in my professional and social life over the last eight months.
"I have been in constant pain since October 2012 following treatment for a problem with my right thigh. As a consequence I have undergone countless medical procedures and two major back operations.
"This has affected my ability to undertake my normal work schedule. I was unable to attend the 25th anniversary of The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway or the opening of The Wizard of Oz in Toronto, Canada earlier this year. I also had to miss the funeral of my good friend Michael Winner and have had to cancel many other personal engagements.
"I have refrained from saying anything until now, but I have had to reluctantly agree with my colleagues that I needed to explain why I have had to withdraw from the Tonys tonight. I do not intend to comment further."
Lloyd Webber previously underwent hip replacement surgery in 2011 and overcame a battle with prostate cancer.
The 67th annual Tony Awards were hosted by funnyman Neil Patrick Harris at New York's Radio City Music Hall.