Bon Jovi to tour while guitarist in rehab

LOS ANGELES Thu Apr 28, 2011 7:47pm EDT

Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora (L) and Jon Bon Jovi perform during the 10th annual Tiger Jam at the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada in this May 26, 2007 file photo. REUTERS/Steve Marcus/Files

Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora (L) and Jon Bon Jovi perform during the 10th annual Tiger Jam at the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada in this May 26, 2007 file photo.

Credit: Reuters/Steve Marcus/Files

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Who wants to play guitar in Bon Jovi?

The rock band said on Thursday its upcoming tour of North America and Europe would proceed even though guitarist Richie Sambora has entered rehab for a drinking problem.

A spokeswoman declined to say who would take Sambora's place on the trek, which begins on Saturday in New Orleans and runs through July 31 in Lisbon.

"Our support for Richie is absolute. He is, and will remain, a member of Bon Jovi," the band's statement said.

"Although he will be absent from upcoming shows for the time being, we very much look forward to his healthy return. In the meantime, we will keep our commitment to our fans and continue our tour."

Sambora, 51, is being treated at an undisclosed facility because he "recently has been drinking too much, and wants to get his life together," Radar Online quoted a source as saying. Sambora previously did a rehab stint in 2007.

The quartet, led by frontman Jon Bon Jovi, was the biggest touring act in the world last year with ticket sales of $201 million, according to concert trade publication Pollstar.

(Reporting by Dean Goodman; editing by Jill Serjeant)

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