Thousands of Neil Diamond fans have donated to Parkinson's research and other charities using the money from tickets refunded to them after the Sweet Caroline singer announced his sudden retirement from touring. Diamond has been diagnosed with the degenerative disease.

Diamond's announcement led to the cancellation of his March tour of Australia and New Zealand. Everyone who bought tickets was refunded their money, but many decided to put that money to good use, as Neil's manager and wife Katie Diamond revealed on Twitter.

"Wow, I've received a bunch of messages from people in Aus & NZ who are donating their ticket refunds to good causes," she said.

"Parkinson's research, animal rescue groups, fire victim funds, etc. My heart is so full of joy to see this silver lining. Faith in humanity = restored. Thank you!"

The singer himself than commented, saying: "This makes me smile. Thank you. Thank you to everyone for your outpouring of love and support. It makes a difference."

Diamond announced his retirement from touring earlier this week (22 January), with a statement saying that he would continue to write and record new material. "The onset of the disease has made it difficult to travel and perform on a large scale," the statement says.

"It is with great reluctance and disappointment that I announce my retirement from concert touring. I have been so honored to bring my shows to the public for the past 50 years," the singer said."My sincerest apologies to everyone who purchased tickets and were planning to come to the upcoming shows.

"I plan to remain active in writing, recording and other projects for a long time to come.

My thanks goes out to my loyal and devoted audiences around the world. You will always have my appreciation for your support and encouragement. This ride has been 'so good, so good, so good' thanks to you."

His cancelled dates in Australia and New Zealand were a leg of his 50th Anniversary tour, and included shows at multiple arenas, stadiums and other events.