July 16, 2001 01:50 AM

In a response to rampant speculation that Backstreet Boys were about to bag the rest of their concert schedule in the face of member A.J. McLean’s current rehab stint to get his life back on track, the group has issued a statement. “Despite rumors to the contrary, Backstreet Boys’s ‘Black & Blue World Tour 2001’ has not been canceled, nor has the crew been told to find other work,” it said. “Backstreet Boys’s touring personnel have been instructed to be on hand when the tour resumes Tuesday, August 7 in Vancouver, British Columbia.” The statement also said that the current hiatus would allow member Nick Carter time to recover from a broken hand he suffered on July 7 in Boston. On July 9, the band took fans by surprise when Brian Littrell, Howie Dorough, Kevin Richardson and Carter appeared on MTV’s “Total Request Live.” Fighting back tears, they explained that the remainder of their tour in the U.S. and Canada would be postponed until Aug. 7 while McLean, 23, undergoes rehab for 30 days at an undisclosed location. “He’s going to receive treatment for depression, anxiety and his excessive consumption of alcohol,” said Richardson. Added Littrell: “He came to us (and said), ‘Guys, I have a problem, and I need to get help.’ “

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