Sir Elton John has been implored to ''slow down'' by his close friends after his recent health scare.

The 70-year-old icon spent two nights in hospital last week battling an infection he picked up during his tour of South America, and Sir Elton's closest friends have now urged him to ease up his frenetic schedule.

A source told The Sun newspaper: ''Elton has a real close knit circle of friends who are genuinely worried about him.

''Nobody wants him to burn himself out and they hope this recent scare will encourage him to take stock. But he's not even considering retirement at present.''

Sir Elton is still recovering from the infection and has already cancelled a series of planned performances.

However, the musician is expected to return to his original schedule for a show in London on June 3, and Sir Elton has apologised to his fans for cancelling a string of gigs between now and then.

He said in a statement: ''I am so fortunate to have the most incredible and loyal fans and apologise for disappointing them. I am extremely grateful to the medical team for their excellence in looking after me so well.''

Meanwhile, the statement also confirmed that Sir Elton became ill on a flight to the UK from Chile.

The statement read: ''During a recent, successful tour of South America, Elton contracted a harmful and unusual bacterial infection.

''During his return flight home from Santiago, Chile he became violently ill. Upon returning to the UK, Elton's doctors admitted him to hospital, where he underwent immediate treatment to remove the infection. After spending two nights in intensive care followed by an extended stay in hospital, Elton was released from hospital.''

The statement also explained that the infection was ''rare and potentially deadly'', but added Sir Elton is expected to make a complete recovery.