In a statement on their website, drummer Lars Ulrich, lead guitarist Kirk Hammett and bassist Robert Trujillo said they were “truly sorry” to fans planning to attend the now-postponed shows and assured that they’d be back on the road pending Hetfield’s recovery.
“As most of you probably know, our brother James has been struggling with addiction on and off for many years. He has now, unfortunately, had to re-enter a treatment program to work on his recovery again,” the musicians said. “We fully intend to make our way to your part of the world as soon as health and schedule permit. We’ll let you know as soon as we can.”
Continuing, the band said it was “devastated that we have inconvenienced so many of you, especially our most loyal fans who often travel great distances to experience our shows.”
“We appreciate your understanding and support for James and, as always, thank you for being a part of our Metallica family.”
All tickets for the eight-show WorldWired tour, which was set to kick off on Oct. 17, will be fully refunded.
In a 2016 podcast interview on the “Joe Rogan Experience,” Hetfield opened up about his stint in rehab in 2001 to overcome alcohol and drug abuse, calling fear “a big motivator.”
“Losing my family ― that was the thing that scared me so much, that was the bottom I hit that my family is going to go away because of the behaviors that I brought home from the road,” he said. “I got kicked out of the house by my wife. I was living on my own somewhere, and I did not want that.”
At the time of the interview, Hetfield said he had been sober for 15 years, noting that rehab “really worked” for him.
Describing the experience, he said it involved “basically tearing you down to bones, ripping your life apart, anything you thought about yourself or what it was, anything you thought you had, your family, your career, your anything ― gone. Strip you down to just, ‘Ok, you’re born ... Let’s get back to that again.’”
“I was raw meat when I came out,” he said. “I didn’t know what I could, or what I should or shouldn’t do.”
However, he said that he and his wife Francesca were prepared to tackle their challenges head-on.
“No matter what’s going on, we’re going to talk this stuff out, and make it work.”