Metallica have just released this message from Lars, Kirk and Rob. The message states the band have to delay their upcoming tour in Australia and New Zealand as Hetfield had "to re-enter a treatment program to work on his recovery again."
Here is their statement in full:
We are truly sorry to inform our fans and friends that we must postpone our upcoming tour of Australia and New Zealand.
As most of you probably know, our brother James has been struggling with addiction on and off for many years. He has now, unfortunately, had to re-enter a treatment program to work on his recovery again.
We fully intend to make our way to your part of the world as soon as health and schedule permit. We’ll let you know as soon as we can. Once again, we are devastated that we have inconvenienced so many of you, especially our most loyal fans who often travel great distances to experience our shows. We appreciate your understanding and support for James and, as always, thank you for being a part of our Metallica family.
All tickets purchased to the shows in Australia and New Zealand, including Enhanced Experiences and Black Tickets, will be fully refunded. More details on how to obtain your refund [at this location]
Hetfield originally went to rehab in December of 2001, as documented in the Metallica film Some Kind of Monster, for alcohol addiction. It led to very tense standoffs with his band during the making of St. Anger, but ultimately they came out of it with a stronger bond.
Hetfield had been sober for many years. In a 2010 interview with the Metallica fan club magazine "So What?," Hetfield noted that he identified as "reborn straight-edge" and even got razor tattoos in the shape of an X on his hand to remind himself. Here is that excerpt:
SO WHAT: (Caught by a tattoo)… that's a new one, right? Sorry-
James: Straight edge? Yeah.
SO WHAT: You're not getting away with the last comment, incidentally. We'll have to go back to that. But anyways, the straight edge X.
James: Right. Well, straight edge, this was certainly a design of my own. You know, the old straight edge tattoo, it's just like a big X on your hand. No drinking, and I don't drink. It's like when you go into the clubs, they put and X on your hand…
SO WHAT: Right. It's because you haven't shown your ID.
James: And I don't need drink or drugs. That's straight edge life. Obviously I'm not straight edge – a true, hardcore straight edge has never had any of it in her or her whole life. But I'm a reborn straight edge.
SO WHAT: I always associated Minor Threat and Ian MacKaye and those guys with straight edge punk. That's what they were all about.
James: Absolutely. There's some hardcore people that are straight edge from birth. So this was my take on the straight edge X, you know? Straight razors. A straight edge, is what that was all about.
This is a developing story. No word on what caused the relapse. I am sure James wants privacy at this time.
In a recent interview, Lars Ulrich has said he can see the band going for another 20 years. We hope so! We're rooting for you, James.
More details on how to obtain your refund are below.
— Metallica (@Metallica) September 28, 2019