Rocker Billy Joel has returned to a rehabilitation clinic, his publicist has confirmed.

The 54-year-old singer/songwriter checked into a New York hospital in February (05) after experiencing severe gastric pains.

His representative says, "Following a recent bout of severe gastro-intestinal distress, Billy Joel has checked himself into an undisclosed rehabilitation facility for treatment of alcohol abuse.

"Mr Joel has asked that his privacy be respected."

Joel has been hospitalised three other times in the past three years: twice for minor injuries sustained when his car crashed in Long Island, and once for rehab - spending 10 days at Connecticut's Silver Hill Hospital, a clinic specialising in drug and alcohol treatment.

15/03/2005 21:22