Rockers Shadows Fall have axed four upcoming U.S. shows following drummer Jason Bittner 's recent acute pancreatitis diagnosis.

Bittner was hospitalised with stomach pains on 29 October (12), forcing the band to pull out of a gig at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention (Pasic) in Austin, Texas last week (ends04Nov12).

The 42 year old was hopeful he would be well enough for the second leg of the group's tour, which was set to kick off in Fayetteville, North Carolina on Thursday (08Nov12), but now the rockers have pulled out of the first few dates of their headlining trek across America.

He writes, "For those who may not know, I was diagnosed last week with acute pancreatitis. For most of the last Shadows Fall tour, I was in a lot of abdominal pain, which I figured was either food poisoning or a stomach bug. Unfortunately, it turns out to be a little more serious than that. After a trip to the Er (Emergency Room) last Monday, I received the diagnosis and some pain treatment.

"That being said, it pains me to say that due to doctor's orders, I am not cleared (nor do I even feel like I could pick up a stick) to begin touring until after I see the specialist and my blood work is back to normal.

"I apologise to the fans, 'cause it kills me to not be there, but my health comes first and I need to recuperate in order to return 110%."

The group was also due to perform in Jacksonville, North Carolina on Friday (09Nov12), Charleston, South Carolina on Saturday (10Nov12), and Jacksonville, Florida on Sunday (11Nov12).