K-pop boy band BTS officially canceled its long-postponed world tour on Friday, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. File photo courtesy of HYBE

K-pop boy band BTS officially canceled its long-postponed world tour on Friday, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. File photo courtesy of HYBE

SEOUL, Aug. 19 (UPI) — South Korean boy band BTS has formally canceled its Map of the Soul tour after a long postponement caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the group’s management company announced on Friday.

“Our company has worked hard to resume preparations for the BTS Map of the Soul Tour, knowing that all fans have been waiting eagerly and long for the tour,” Bighit Music said in a statement released on the company’s Weverse fan community. “However, due to changing circumstances beyond our control, it has become difficult to resume performances at the same scale and timeline as previously planned.”

The K-pop superstars released Map of the Soul: 7 in February of last year and had planned to kick off a 37-date world tour the following April, with stops in South Korea, North America, Europe and Japan. However, the band postponed the tour indefinitely in March as the pandemic began to rapidly spread around the world.

Tickets for the North American leg of the tour, which was slated to feature 15 dates in nine cities, were sold before the tour was put on hold.

“We regret that we must now inform you of the formal cancellation of the tour,” Bighit Music said. “For fans who have reserved tickets for the North American shows, you will receive an email from your original point of purchase regarding refunds.”

The management company said it was working to “prepare a viable schedule and performance format that can meet your expectations.”

BTS has dominated the Billboard Hot 100 chart for much of the summer, with hit single “Butter” spending nine weeks at No. 1. “Permission to Dance,” the band’s latest single, debuted on July 24 at No. 1 and knocked “Butter” off the top of the chart for a week.

The septet consists of RM, Jungkook, Suga, Jin, J-Hope, Jimin and V.

BTS will headline the Global Citizen Live concert and fundraising event for poverty relief on Sept. 25 alongside Ed Sheeran, Lorde and The Weeknd. The concert will be broadcast and livestreamed on platforms including ABC, BBC, YouTube and Twitter.

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