Andrew Lloyd Webber was forced to pull out of attending last night's Tony Awards, where The Phantom of the Opera was honoured, due to ill health.
The composer said in a statement issued yesterday that he has been struggling with a medical problem in his thigh for several months:
"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 25 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."
Lloyd Webber has previously had health issues due to a diagnosis of prostate cancer in 2009, which was treated successfully.
He added: "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. I do not intend to comment further."