Elton John will mount a three-year farewell tour, then leave the road forever.

"My priorities have changed in life," John told host Anderson Cooper during a New York news conference today announcing the Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour, "but we had children and that changed our lives. ... My priorities now are my family and my husband. I thought the time is right to say thank you to all of my fans and then to say goodbye. That doesn't mean I won't be creative, but I'm not gonna travel anymore."

The news was shared during a much-hyped "special announcement" event today that was live streamed via YouTube in VR 180. John performed "Tiny Dancer" and "I'm Still Standing" as part of the news conference, wearing a bejeweled jacket and eyeglasses.

Rumors that John might retire from touring, bringing to a close nearly 50 years out on the road, began to circulate earlier in the day. The Daily Mirror said it had an official confirmation that John would quit hours before this news conference was held.

Watch Elton John's Wednesday News Conference

The original video promotional announcement shared on social-media platforms certainly hinted at a big career development, noting that John was "embarking on the next phase of his creative journey." His official website also included a countdown clock accompanied by a quote from the title track from 1973's Goodbye Yellow Brick Road: "I've finally decided my future lies ... ."

The rumor mill was goosed along by John's terrifying struggles with a rare bacterial infection last year, contracted while on tour in South America. But he stressed on Wednesday that he is healthy again, and constantly reiterated that the decision was based solely on a desire to be home with husband/manager David Furnish and their two sons. "I don't want to miss them," John told Cooper, "and I don't want them to miss me. But I have had a pretty good run."

John's "Farewell Yellow Brick Road" tour starts in the U.S. on Sept. 8, and continues into Europe in April 2019, Asia in November 2019, Australasia in December 2019 and into 2020. John will then tour South America in March 2020, before returning to Europe and the U.K. in late 2020 and finishing in North America in 2021. Tickets go on sale for the general public in North America beginning Feb. 2. More information will be announced in the coming months.

"I don't want to go out with a whimper; I want to go out with a big bang," John added, noting that the first show will be in Allentown, Penn.

Media types were greeted with a glass of champagne upon arriving for the joint news conference, held in New York and London. At Gotham Hall, the menu included aged stripped steak, shrimp, noodles, mini-chicken sandwiches – and an open bar. John songs played overhead while everyone milled about beforehand. Next, organizers handed out virtual reality headsets, then showed a five-minute video summary of John's career.

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