Guitarist Richie checks into rehab over drinking problem – but the band will make US and Europe trip without him

Richie Sambora

Out: Richie Sambora

Bon Jovi are planning to start a tour of the US and Europe tomorrow without Richie Sambora, after the guitarist checked himself into rehab.

The 51-year-old has dropped out of the band’s current activities with immediate effect, citing exhaustion and alcohol issues.

Bon Jovi will kick off a run of North American shows in New Orleans tomorrow night (April 30). They wind up on May 22, after which the band will head to Europe for a number of festival sets which end on July 31.

It’s not known how long Sambora will be off the road, or who will replace him onstage.

But a band statement says his place in the band is secure: “Our support for Richie is absolute. He is, and will remain, a member of Bon Jovi.

“Although he will be absent from upcoming shows for the time being, we very much look forward to his healthy return.

“In the meantime, we will keep our commitment to our fans and continue to tour.”

RadarOnline quotes a source close to the band saying: “Richie has been drinking too much and wants to get his life back together. He’s had a busy year and I think this was a culmination of all the things that overloaded his life. Finally he realised he needed to take care of himself.”

The guitarist said in an interview last year: “I don’t know about your dance card, but mine is full until the end of August 2011. My daily planner is the size of a Bible, man – and it’s only going to grow.”

Bon Jovi were the biggest touring band in the world last year, making $201m in ticket sales.

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