The Rolling Stones are ready to begin their delayed run of dates in Australia and New Zealand, but longtime sax player Bobby Keys won't be along for the ride.

The band broke the news on its official site, saying Keys is "a bit under the weather" and adding that he's "under doctor’s orders to take it a bit easy for the next month and hopes to see everyone soon." He'll be replaced for those dates by Karl Denson, who's quoted on the Stones' site as saying, "It’s the opportunity of a lifetime, the chance to see the world through a giant pair of lips. It’s going to be amazing to get even closer to this music that I have listened to all my life."

Vintage Vinyl News reports that Denson paid tribute to Keys on his own Facebook page, telling fans and followers, "While we celebrate my good fortune, let’s also pray for Bobby Keys' quick recovery. I’ve been studying his playing since I was 19 or 20 years old. He is what I call the original 'slow hand' saxophonist. Sometimes less is more. Get well soon Bobby … "

Whatever befell Keys must have happened recently, as he was profiled in an Oct. 14 article in the West Australian that found him looking forward to the tour. "It doesn't matter how many times I've played 'Brown Sugar,' I never get tired of playing it," he insisted. "It's pretty scripted on the road; very organized and compartmentalized, and that's the way it has to be with so many people involved in a Stones tour. It's quite a bit different to when I first joined the band and there were only two security guys. But I'm not complaining. The music is still good, the checks still cash, and I still enjoy playing."

More From Ultimate Classic Rock