Sir Elton John ''will never retire''.

Although the 70-year-old singer was forced to cancel a number of upcoming shows after a rare and potentially deadly bacterial infection landed him in intensive care for two days last month, his close pal Gary Barlow believes Elton will never stop working.

The Take That star told the Daily Mirror: ''He loves gigging, he loves being out there. He's on the mend. You can't hold him down, he's crazy. It's never time for him to retire.

''I've sent him a few emails and I believe he's fine. I sent him our best. You can get those horrible kinds of diseases on holiday.

''He's just been unfortunate. He's toured the world since 1971, so he's been lucky to make it this far.''

Elton was forced to spend two days in intensive care after he fell ''violently ill'' on board his flight from Santiago, Chile, to his native London due to the infection.

A statement released to BANG Showbiz at the time, 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 on Saturday, April 22 and is now comfortably resting at home per doctors' advice.

''Infections of this nature are rare and potentially deadly. Thankfully, Elton's medical team identified this quickly and treated it successfully. He is expected to make a full and complete recovery. Elton will be returning to his schedule of live performances in Twickenham, England on Saturday June 3rd. (sic)''