Speculation is rife that Sir Elton John will announce his retirement from music at a joint press conference in London and New York on Wednesday (24 January) .

The musician's website displays a countdown clock set for 5.30pm GMT alongside the words:"I've finally decided my future lies...".

According to The Mirror, a catalogue of health issues may have contributed to his decision to quit touring. Back in July 2013, John was forced to bow out of his concert at London's Hyde Park to undergo emergency appendicitis surgery.

"I knew I was sick but I didn't know I had such a dangerous thing inside of me until I had a scan, which was after nine shows, 24 flights and a summer ball," the singer said at the time.

"I was a ticking time bomb. I guess I could have died at any time," he said. "I feel so lucky and grateful to be alive."

In March 2017 he spent two night in intensive care after picking up a "potentially deadly" bug during his tour in South America. His ill health led to the cancellation of shows in Las Vegas, California, Germany and Italy.

"Thankfully, Elton's medical team identified this quickly and treated it successfully. He is expected to make a full and complete recovery," his spokesman said at the time.

The imminent announcement has sent fans into a frenzy, with one tweeting: "Elton John is retiring from music?! Noooo"

Another wrote: "Huge fan since 1️⃣9️⃣7️⃣1️⃣, waiting on tender hooks for the announcement!"

John's has enjoyed a prolific career spanning five decades that has seen him sell more than 200 million records. The Candle In The Wind hitmaker is one of the world's most in-demand live performers, commanding fees upwards of $1m (£700K) a show.

Although he might be stepping away from the stage, he has no plans on slowing down. He is due to perform a duet with Miley Cyrus at Sunday's Grammy Awards. He will also host a special concert in his honour at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday, with guests stars including Sam Smith, Chris Martin, Kesha, John Legend and Keith Urban.

His current Las Vegas residency is scheduled to run until 19 May, while he is also billed to play two dates in Georgia in June and July.