LL Cool J Tests Positive for COVID-19, Cancels Performance on 'Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve'

"I know it's disappointing to the millions of fans but my test came back positive for COVID," LL Cool J said in a statement

Build Series Presents LL Cool J Discussing "NCIS: Los Angeles" & "Lip Sync Battle"
LL Cool J. Photo: Andrew Toth/FilmMagic

LL Cool J has canceled his New Year's Eve performance after testing positive for COVID-19.

The entertainer, 53, was scheduled to perform during Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest airing Friday on ABC.

"I know it's disappointing to the millions of fans but my test came back positive for COVID, which means I'll no longer be able to perform as scheduled at NYRE," the musician, whose real name is James Todd Smith, said in a statement to PEOPLE.

"We were ready and I was really looking forward to ringing in 2022 in my hometown in a special way, but for now I wish everyone a healthy and happy New Year. The best is yet to come!" he added.

The NCIS: Los Angeles star was slated to take the stage for a pre-midnight set in Times Square on Friday night, as part of a pared-down event due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Last week, New York City mayor Bill de Blasio announced plans to scale back the Times Square New Year's Eve celebration due to the city's surge in COVID cases. Only one quarter of the usual attendees — about 15,000 people — will be allowed.

R&B singer Chlöe has also canceled her appearance on ABC's Times Square event, which is still scheduled to include performances from Journey and Karol G on stage in New York City.

Joining from Los Angeles will be Avril Lavigne and Travis Barker, Big Boi and Sleepy Brown, French Montana, Macklemore, OneRepublic and more. Daddy Yankee is scheduled to perform from Puerto Rico, while Billy Porter will appear from New Orleans.

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Last week, Fox canceled its New Year's Eve Toast & Roast, which was set to be hosted by Joel McHale and Ken Jeong live in Times Square.

The cancellations come as many experts recommend nixing large-scale New Year's Eve gatherings amid the spiking omicron variant surge in COVID-19 cases.

The United States passed a grim milestone this week, nearly two years into the coronavirus pandemic, as data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed the country recording a single-day record-breaking high of over 441,000 new cases on Dec. 27.

The reported totals surpassed the Jan. 8 record of over 298,000 new COVD-19 cases logged in a single day.

The seven-day average of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. totals just over 240,000, per data from the CDC. The staggering number of cases brings the total amount recorded in the U.S. since January 2020 to nearly 53 million, with the total death toll rising to 816,239.

Millions of Americans have been affected by the alarming rise of cases over the holidays — and not only because themselves or loved ones were testing positive for the virus. United Airlines, Delta, and Alaskan Airlines all scrapped hundreds of flights ahead of Christmas Eve, citing the spread of the omicron variant as the reason for the sudden cancellations, with similar situations affecting NYC's MTA public transportation system.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from the CDC, WHO and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a GoFundMe.org fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.

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