By Kathy McCabe
It was meant to be a short holiday with the family before the start of the final gruelling leg of U2's world tour.
But yesterday singer Bono was taking comfort from his wife Ali and their family, including sons Elijah and John, after the Irish supergroup put the Vertigo tour - including two sold-out Sydney dates - on hold due to the serious illness of one of the band's relatives.
As Bono and his family spent the day boating on Sydney Harbour, sympathetic fans speculated that the tour was halted by an illness affecting one of guitarist The Edge's children.
U2's international promoter The Next Adventure and local agent Michael Coppel said: "This action is unavoidable due to the illness of an immediate family member of the band."
TNA president Arthur Fogel said: "Any fan of U2 will realise that this decision has not been taken lightly.
"We will announce further details as soon as we have them."
Ten shows in Auckland, Australia and Hawaii, including the two Telstra Stadium gigs on March 31 and April 1, have been postponed.
Representatives of Michael Coppel Presents and the band's Australian record label Universal refused to confirm or deny reports about the nature of the illness or which band member's family was affected.
The postponement could cost many diehard fans thousands of dollars in non-refundable airfares and accommodation.
But even those fans were quick to post notices on U2-related internet forums expressing their sympathy for the band members and their families.
The Edge dedicated one of the band's recent Grammy wins to his eight-year-old daughter Sian, who it is believed was suffering a serious illness last year.
The Edge has four daughters and a son.
Several containers of staging and other production equipment for the massive outdoor extravaganza has already arrived in Australia. Mr Coppel yesterday confirmed American hip-hop superstar Kanye West, who was the major support act for the tour here, will go ahead with his own headlining shows.
Copyright © 2006 News Limited.