Andrew Lloyd Webber has revealed that his eldest son has stomach cancer and is seriously ill.
The composer said in a statement that his son Nicholas, 43, has been ill for 18 months and is now in hospital.
Lloyd Webber was unable to attend the Broadway launch of his Bad Cinderella musical.
Explaining his absence to the Hollywood Reporter, he said: “I am absolutely devastated to say that my oldest son Nick is seriously ill.
“As my friends and family know, he has been battling stomach cancer for 18 months and Nick is now in the hospital.”
He added: “We are all praying that Nick will turn the corner. He fights bravely with his indomitable wit, but right now my place is with him and the family.
Speaking on the launch of Bad Cinderell, the star said, “I won’t be able to cheer on the amazing cast, crew and orchestra on Opening Night.”
Nicholas, whose mother is Andrew’s first wife Sarah Hugill, is also a celebrated composer.
Andrew is also the father of Imogen, 44, Isabella, 26, Alastair, 30, William, 29.
He has composed The Phantom of the Opera, Cats and Evita.