Sir Elton John has announced he will retire after his upcoming three-year global tour, marking the end of a performing career spanning almost 50 years.

John promised the Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour will be his biggest shows ever, ABC News has reported.

“It’s a way of going out with a bang,” he said.

“I’m not the kind of guy to go out with a whimper.”

The marathon tour will start in the US this September, continuing until 2021.

John will perform in Australia and New Zealand between December 2019 and February 2020.

“It will be a wonderful way to thank people,” he said.

John, 70, said he plans to use his retirement to spend more time with his family.

The flamboyant singer married husband David Furnish in 2014. The couple have two sons, aged five and seven.

“I love them so much,” John told a press conference in New York.

“I don’t want to miss them and I don’t want them to miss me.

“My priorities now are my children and my husband and my family.”

He said he would like to be able to participate in his children’s lives in normal ways like taking them to soccer practice.

John denied media reports that he was quitting touring due to ill health, but said he “can’t physically do the travelling anymore”.

He has been one of the biggest figures in pop music for decades, selling 300 million records and performing in more than 80 countries.

An LGBTI icon, John first came out as bisexual in 1976, later saying he was “comfortable” being gay.

He was among the first celebrities become involved in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

The Elton John AIDS Foundation, established in 1992, has raised over $200 million to support HIV education, prevention and support in 55 countries.

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