London: In a fresh blow to pop star Michael Jackson, the first four opening shows of his much hyped comeback concerts have been rescheduled with organizers citing "technical issues".
The news comes at a time when the superstar has been dogged with poor health rumours with reports suggesting that the 50-year-old Jackson is suffering from skin cancer, a claim denied by the singer.
The 50-date concerts in the famous 02 Arena were billed as the biggest comeback in pop history, but the latest development has left thousands of Jackson's fans disappointed, Daily Mail reported.
The opening show on July 8 has been shifted to July 13 while the other three initial concerts have been postponed till March next year, the organisers said.
The rescheduling of the dates means that all of the 80,000 fans who had bought tickets will have to wait up to eight months to see the concerts.
The show's director Kenny Ortega took the decision on Wednesday, with a spokesman saying a clash with Madonna, who is also performing at the venue at the beginning of July, had left Jackson with no time to rehearse at the arena.
Randy Phillips, President and CEO, AEG Live, who are organising the concerts said, "This show has grown in size and scope, thereby, necessitating more lead time for manufacture of the set, programming the content for the massive video elements, and, most importantly, more time for full production and dress rehearsals.
"As much as we agonised over this change in the original schedule, we are sure the fans will understand when they experience the level of entertainment Michael Jackson intends to deliver," Phillips said.
The postponements are a huge blow to fans, who were hoping to watch the star perform on stage after over a decade.
The cancellations are also likely to fuel further rumours about Jackson's ability to perform, as the star is already facing questions over his fitness for the sell-out concerts.
Organisers said that fans who had bought the tickets to the original shows had been notified by email and that those who could not make the new dates would be offered a full refund.
Meanwhile, Jackson, who is never out without a surgical mask on his face, has been making appearances exposing his face in a bid to dispel rumours that he has skin cancer.