Motley Crue’s Mick Mars retires from touring over ‘painful struggle’ with ankylosing spondylitis

Mötley Crüe guitarist Mick Mars is done rockin’ with the legendary band on tour.

“Mick Mars, co-founder and lead guitarist of the heavy metal band Mötley Crüe for the past 41 years, has announced today that due to his ongoing painful struggle with Ankylosing Spondylitis (A.S.), he will no longer be able to tour with the band,” a rep for the 71-year-old musician told Variety on Wednesday about Mars’ degenerative disease.

“Mick will continue as a member of the band, but can no longer handle the rigors of the road. A.S. is an extremely painful and crippling degenerative disease, which affects the spine,” the statement continued.

Ankylosing spondylitis is a type of arthritis that causes inflammation in the spine joints and ligaments and can lead to stiffness over time, according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.

Mick Mars in Los Angeles
Mick Mars has struggled with the rare disease ankylosing spondylitis for decades.
Motley Crue in 2005
Mars during a Motley Crue show in 2005.
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Motley Crue in concert
Motley Crue founding guitarist Mick Mars is retiring from touring.
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The band announced Thursday that guitarist John 5, who toured with Marilyn Manson, will replace Mars on the road.

“I’m honored to carry on Mick’s legacy and am looking forward to playing these songs,” he wrote in the group’s statement. 

Mötley Crüe members Vince Neil, 61; Tommy Lee, 60; and Nikki Sixx, 63, will embark on a tour in 2023 alongside Def Leppard across Latin America and Europe.

The group assured fans that Mars will “continue as a member of the band,” even though he’s not touring. The crew hasn’t released new music since 2008.

Motley Crue performing in 1987
Motley Crue will go on tour in 2023 with Def Leppard.
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Mars previously revealed his experiences with the disease, including in the band’s 2001 biography, “The Dirt.”

“My hips started hurting so bad every time I turned my body that it felt like someone was igniting fireworks in my bones. I didn’t have enough money to see a doctor, so I just kept hoping that I could do what I usually do: will it away, through the power of my mind. But it kept getting worse.”

“Then, one afternoon while doing my laundry,” he continued, “I started having trouble breathing. At first, it felt like someone had plunged a knife into my back. But as the weeks passed, the pain kept moving around my back. Next, my stomach started burning, and I worried that my whole body was about to fall apart. I thought that there was a hole in my stomach, and acids were leaking out and destroying my bones and organs. I’d grab hold of doorknobs, anchor my legs into the ground, and pull with my hands to stretch my back and ease the pressure out.”

Mars’ condition worsened by the turn of the century, and he became addicted to painkillers. But a successful hip surgery helped him play years of shows on the road.

“I kept getting worse and worse, and I just stopped playing guitar for almost two years,” he told Metal Sludge in 2008. “Nowadays, it’s not so bad, but back then when I was high on all that stuff and Motley were having a break, I knew if I didn’t stop I was gonna die.”

“In the end, I had to go to a neuropsychiatrist to straighten me up and he said to me, ‘Just hold the guitar for an hour a day – don’t play it, just hold it.’ It was pretty bizarre but I got through it, and in the end, I think I’m actually a better player because of it,” Mars added.

The Post has reached out to reps for Mötley Crüe for further comment.