Metallica have cancelled all of their planned tour dates as frontman James Hetfield has been admitted to rehab.

The band had been set to head Down Under next month to play five Australian dates as part of their WorldWired Tour with Slipknot, followed by a four-show stint in New Zealand.

Taking to instagram on Friday, guitarist Kirk Hammett, drummer Lars Ulrich and bassist Robert Trujillo released a statement informing fans their “brother” James had re-entered rehab to treat his “addiction”.

“We are truly sorry to inform our fans and friends that we must postpone our upcoming tour of Australia and New Zealand,” the statement began. “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.”

The tour has been postponed indefinitely as it is unknown when James will be discharged from rehab.

The musician previously sought treatment in July 2001 to treat an alcohol issue, and went sober in 2002 and abstained from alcohol, cigarettes and all other forms of drugs.

Closing the statement, the rockers added: “We appreciate your understanding and support for James and, as always, thank you for being a part of our Metallica family.”