Brian May has been forced to cancel his 2016 tour dates after battling with a ''persistent illness''.

The Queen guitarist was due to perform a series of concerts across the UK in December with singer Kerry Ellis but has been forced to postpone them as the illness has been ''destroying his energy and his will''.

He wrote on his official website: ''We're very sad today to announce the indefinite postponement of our 'candlelight' concert dates this coming December. This is a decision I've agonised over, but in the end it has become inevitable.

''I managed to complete the recent Queen and Adam Lambert dates in Asia but I have been increasingly battling with a persistent illness which is destroying my energy and my will. I am now at the point where I don't feel confident to perform the scheduled shows to the standard we all expect.

''I've been strongly advised to rest and heal, rather than go out and risk 'falling down on the job' out there, which would be a real tragedy. I'm convinced it's much better taking the step to cancel the dates now, refunding the fans for the ticket sales, and giving all our team a chance to re-plan their time in December. Sincere apologies to all.''

And Kerry also expressed her disappointment at the postponement but knows Brian's health ''must come first''.

In a statement, she shared: ''Brian is a dear friend of mine and obviously his health must come first. I was so looking forward to touring the UK again with Brian. I know so many of you had bought tickets for an early Christmas treat, and I am truly sorry that we are letting so many of you down. But we will be back next year for sure, with new music for you all to hear.''