British rockers The Libertines have cancelled all live gigs from the end of 2004, so frontman Carl Barat can undergo surgery.

The band have been busy touring since Pete Doherty left the band in the Summer (04), but Barat says an (unknown) "ongoing health problem" means he and bandmates JOHN HASSALL and Gary Powell must rest their instruments "for the foreseeable future".

He says, "As of the end of December Gary, John and I have decided The Libertines will be off the road for the foreseeable future, no more official gigs are booked.

"An ongoing problem with my health, which requires an operation, will put me out of action for maybe some months."

Doherty was forced to quit the band after repeated attempts to kick his addictions to heroine and crack cocaine failed - but Barat insists the door is still open, if the singer cleans up his act.

He adds, "My position with Pete hasn't changed, I hope he gets better, I still love him and hope he will come back in full health and take the world with The Libertines.

"Joining the old crew on the good ship wouldn't be so hard."

02/11/2004 17:31