It's no fun for bands to miss the summer touring season, and it is with great regret that Iced Earth will not be making the rounds in the summer of 2014. Guitarist Jon Shaffer delivered the news while explaining the decision in an open letter on the band's Facebook page.

Schaffer has battled continued pain from a neck injury over the years and it recently got so bad that he required additional treatment. The guitarist says in his posting that he was hoping to have surgery this fall after the band's summer touring had concluded, but unfortunately it can no longer wait.

His full posting on the matter can be read below:

It is with sincere apologies that I write to inform you all that ICED EARTH is forced to cancel this summer’s festivals and headline shows.
As many of you know, I underwent surgery on my neck in the year 2000, due to an onstage injury that occurred in 1996. Since that time, I have battled with this problem, and it has begun to accelerate in the past several months, causing additional issues that can no longer be ignored.
In February, while on tour in Europe, I underwent highly specialized treatment in Germany from a doctor who has helped, among many others, Tony Iommi and Eddie Van Halen. This treatment helped sustain my ability to perform so that we could complete our Worldwide Plagues Tour.
However, I am now forced to take further, more invasive action sooner than I intended in order to maintain my overall health.
Surgery was originally planned to take place in September during our break, but I have now been advised to have the procedure completed sooner rather than later.
As much as it pains me and everyone else in our camp to have to cancel these dates, this is something that cannot be put aside any longer.
Once the surgery and recovery are completed, we will be back to work – healthy, strong, and ready to bring the metal to you, our fans.
Best wishes to you all,
Jon Schaffer

Iced Earth were expected to return to the road June 12, beginning their European tour in the Netherlands, with festival shows booked throughout the month and an additional string of dates planned in August. To see the affected shows, click here.

Our best to Iced Earth's Jon Schaffer as he undergoes surgery and deals with the recovery. Iced Earth have been supporting their 'Plagues of Babylon' album.