Jerry Lewis taken ill

Comic, 85, cancels Australian run

Jerry Lewis has cancelled the Sydney leg of his Australian tour after falling ill moments before he was due on stage on Friday night.

The 85-year-old was said to be ‘exhausted and unable to perform’ to the 700 people who came to see him. He did not get out of the car which brought him to the venue, but was instead driven to hospital where he was admitted for tests.

After about three hours before doctors concluded he was simply fatigued, and he returned to his Sydney hotel.

As a result, the rest of the Sydney leg of his tour has been cancelled. Lewis will continue to rest before flying to Melbourne, where he is due to perform to 1,300 people on Thursday.

The tour is in aid of the Muscular Dystrophy Foundation Australia, a cause with which Lewis has long been associated.

The charity’s chief executive David Jack said: ‘Understandably, Jerry's health is our primary concern throughout this period and we want to ensure he's able to travel home healthy

He told the Australian Associated Press that Lewis was in good spirits, adding: ‘He wanted me to give a very important message just to quash any rumours: "I'm not pregnant".'

Candi Cazau, Lewis’s Las Vegas-based publicist added: ‘He’s fine from what I understand. He was just feeling under the weather.’

Richard Errington, of Rooty Hill Returning and Services League, where Lewis was due to perform on Friday, said that the comic was 'pale and looked extremely unwell’ when he arrived at the venue.

But when Errington made the on-stage announcement that the gig was cancelled, the audience gave Lewis a standing ovation. Many refused to be refunded the ticket price, insisting it should be given to charity anyway.

Jerry Lewis arrived in Australia on Monday for his eighth tour of the country. He will now be leaving next Saturday, a day earlier than planned.

Friday night’s incident has echoes of his scheduled appearance at the London Palladium in 2002, when he collapsed before going on stage at the end of a long tribute night.

He has a long history of illness, including a debilitating back condition, heart issues and pulmonary fibrosis.

Published: 24 Jun 2011

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