Modern English's North American tour in support of their new Take Me to the Trees LP has been cut short due to guitarist Gary McDowell's health.

The band broke the news with a social media update, apologizing to fans shortchanged by the sudden development while underscoring the seriousness of the situation. "This is due to a serious illness and urgent surgery required for our guitarist Gary. Obviously we are very upset and disappointed to have to come to this decision, but without Gary we just can't play," reads the post. "After recovering from surgery, Gary will be flown home to England for further treatment. We hope to reschedule these shows once he recovers."

Fifteen dates in all have been struck from the calendar, starting with a planned engagement in Portland, Ore. on March 27 and continuing through April 16, when the band was due to perform at Toronto's Adelaide Hall. Although it's obviously a disappointing setback in the reunited group's return to action, as Vintage Vinyl News notes, the members of Modern English were at least able to play a handful of U.S. shows leading up to McDowell's emergency, including a Los Angeles engagement and a series of SXSW showcases.

Fans who paid extra for meet and greets and VIP packages are assured the band has every intention of honoring its commitments, possibly as soon as this summer — and as serious as McDowell's condition sounds, the group is already looking toward the future.

"We were able to record a live show too so, the live CD is still in the works and we're hoping it's up to snuff," adds an update at the band's official site. "Again, thanks for all the support and for sticking with us. We'll be back as we plan to reschedule the dates as soon as Gary is ready. In the meanwhile, our thoughts are with our bandmate and we'll be in touch with all updates when we have them."

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