Sir Elton John has announced he will retire after his upcoming three-year global tour, marking the end of a performing career spanning almost 50 years.

John promised the Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour will be his biggest shows ever, ABC News has reported.

John will perform in Australia and New Zealand between December 2019 and February 2020.

John, 70, said he plans to use his retirement to spend more time with his family.

“I love them so much,” John told a press conference in New York.

John denied media reports that he was quitting touring due to ill health, but said he “Can’t physically do the travelling anymore”.

An LGBTI icon, John first came out as bisexual in 1976, later saying he was “Comfortable” being gay.

He was among the first celebrities become involved in the fight against HIV/AIDS. The Elton John AIDS Foundation, established in 1992, has raised over $200 million to support HIV education, prevention and support in 55 countries.