David Gest has been diagnosed with a tumour in his neck and has had to pull out of his appearance in adult pantomime A Nightmare On Lime Street.

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The 59-year-old was told by his doctor that the tumour must be removed as soon as possible and he is to fly out to Memphis next week to undergo an operation.

Memphis otolaryngologist Neal S. Beckford, M.D. said: “Mr. Gest is flying to Memphis and will have the operation to remove the tumour on his neck immediately after his arrival next week. We expect Mr. Gest to have made a full recovery by mid-January 2013.”

Gest’s health problems mean he has had to walk away from his role as Frankenstein’s Monster in A Nightmare On Lime Street, which is running through December and January at the Royal Court Theatre in Liverpool.

The concert promoter had missed the opening week of the play – which also stars Michael Starke and Mark Moraghan – because of a bout of severe viral gastroenteritis and he has now to pull out completely.

In a statement, Kevin Fearon, producer of the production and Chief Executive of the Royal Court Theatre, said: “We are all very disappointed to lose David from the show but we agreed that his health must come first.

Gest – who is a former contestant on I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! – is devastated he has had to quit the show after working so hard to prepare for his theatrical debut, but has had to accept his doctor’s advice.

He said: “I was really looking forward to singing in this wonderful play, but I have no choice.”

Before he heads to Memphis for his operation, Gest will be honoured for his Humanitarian Services on behalf of the homeless in Liverpool on Sunday (09.12.12) by The Whitechapel Centre who help homeless people aged 16 and over get their lives back on track.

The star-studded gala musical concert and dinner honouring Gest is to be hosted by Coronation Street star Kym Marsh.

Gest is due to embark on his Legends of Soul Spectacular tour of the UK from 1 February, 2013.