Chris Rea Collapses at U.K. Show, Cancels Gig

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Chris Rea (photo from his Facebook page)

The British singer-songwriter and guitarist Chris Rea was forced to cancel a gig in Brighton, England, after collapsing onstage in Oxford. According to reports in the U.K. press, Rea, who placed six singles and four albums on the U.S. Billboard chart in the ’70s and ’80s, “fell to a clump” mid-song. An audience member was quoted as saying Rea was slurring his words shortly before he took ill, falling backwards.

The 66-year-old Rea is currently on his “Road Songs for Lovers” tour and was scheduled to perform tonight (Dec. 10) in Brighton, but that show has now been canceled. Rea is reportedly in a hospital being treated since the incident. He is reportedly in stable condition. No diagnosis has been made public.

A spokesman for Rea gave a statement: “Unfortunately Chris Rea has had to cancel tonight’s show at Brighton Centre due to illness. A decision about the outstanding date on his U.K. tour on 12 December at Bournemouth International Centre will be made in the near future.”

Related: An interview with British blues legend John Mayall

Rea was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2001. This past summer he said, on a British radio broadcast, “I had a stroke exactly this time last year, and I stopped smoking this time last year. I’m fine when I’m sitting down, I’ve just got a little bit of balance – it’s a bit dodgy, just in case anyone thinks I’m drunk on-stage.”

In the United States Ray is best known for his 1978 hit song “Fool (If You Think It’s Over),” which reached #12 on the Billboard Hot 100 and spent three weeks at #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart. He has been much more successful in his homeland, where he has placed nearly 20 singles on the British sales charts as well as numerous albums. He has reportedly sold more than 30 million records worldwide.

Watch Chris Rea perform “Driving Home for Christmas”


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