Actor David Hasselhoff has cleared his schedule and rushed back to the U.S. to be by his sick father's side.

The former Baywatch star was due to switch on the Christmas lights in Southend, England on Saturday (15Nov14) but organisers have announced they are scrambling for a replacement because Hasselhoff jetted back to the U.S. to attend to his ailing father Joe.

The actor explained the cancellation on Twitter.com, writing, "Sorry I can't be in Southend this weekend. I had to go back home to be with my father and my hero who is very ill. Thanks for your prayers". He later added, "Happy to say I'm home to hold my fathers (sic) hand and thank you all for you warm thoughts and prayers! Love endures all!"

Hasselhoff is starring as Captain Hook in a festive production of Peter Pan at Southend's Cliffs Pavilion theatre, and is expected to return to the town for rehearsals at the start of December (14).