Bob Dylan Is Hospitalized With Respiratory Infection, Cancels Tour


Rock legend Bob Dylan canceled a two-week European tour Wednesday after being hospitalized in New York for treatment of a respiratory infection, according to a statement released in London by the singer’s representatives.

The statement said that the 56-year-old singer-songwriter, who was hospitalized last weekend, is suffering from histoplasmosis, a fungal infection that creates a swelling of the sac that surrounds the heart. In severe cases that are left untreated, the disease can be fatal.

Sources close to Dylan expressed concern about the singer-songwriter, who has always tried to keep his personal life private, but said they didn’t believe him to be in grave danger.


“The Bob Dylan camp is very confident that he will fulfill his U.S. touring commitments this August,” a Columbia Records spokesman said.

Dylan, whose 10-city European tour was scheduled to start this weekend in Ireland and wind up June 15 in Switzerland, was admitted to the hospital after experiencing “severe chest pains,” according to Wednesday’s statement, which was released through a British concert promoter.

Dylan spokesman Elliot Mintz said that the singer, to the best of Mintz’s knowledge, does not have a history of heart problems. He declined to reveal Dylan’s prognosis or where the legendary songwriter is hospitalized.

Histoplasmosis is an infection caused by a soil fungus that is normally carried by birds and bats. More than 40 million Americans have suffered from the infections and as many as 500,000 are newly diagnosed each year.

The disease is triggered when fungal spores are inhaled and start replicating in the lungs. Its symptoms can include cough, fever, headaches, muscle aches, stomach cramps, deep chest pains and pericarditis--an inflammation of the membrane that surrounds the heart. That inflammation, which is apparently suffered by Dylan, can hinder the heart’s pumping action.

Histoplasmosis normally clears up by itself, and only rarely does it require drug therapy. Restrictions of activity and bed rest are important in recovery, however.


Corticosteroids may be used to help breathing and, in the most severe cases, antibiotics may be used to speed clearance of the infection.

Dylan has been recording songs for an album, tentatively due out this fall, that will be his first collection of original material since 1990. His son Jakob is leader of the Wallflowers, whose album, “Bringing Down the Horse,” is among the biggest hits of the last year.

Times medical writer Thomas H. Maugh II contributed to this story.