PERTH, Australia - The Rolling Stones have rallied around Mick Jagger after the suicide of girlfriend L'Wren Scott, with Keith Richards consoling his "soul brother" and vowing they will be back on stage soon.
In their first comments since the former model, 49, was found hanged at her luxury New York apartment on Monday, Richards, Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood said they were shocked and pulling together to help Jagger, 70.
"No-one saw this coming... Mick's always been my soul brother and we love him. We're thick as thieves and we're all feeling for the man," Richards, his songwriting partner for more than 50 years, said in a statement.
"We really hate to disappoint our fans but we'll see everyone really soon."
The Stones on Tuesday postponed their 14 On Fire tour of Australia and New Zealand, vowing to reschedule concerts in Perth, Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Auckland at a later date.
Australian reports said the band was still holed up in their hotel in Perth, where they had been due to play the first date of the tour on Wednesday evening.
It was not clear whether Jagger, Scott's partner of 13 years, remains in the city or has left but drummer Watts and the band's saxophone player Tim Ries turned up for a surprise gig at Perth's Ellington Jazz Club on Wednesday, pictures showed.
Watts told Britain's Daily Mail of Jagger: "He's holding up, he's okay. He's not really well, he's not really here. It was such a shock."
Wood said the entire band would be back on stage as soon as possible.
"This is such terrible news and right now the important thing is that we are all pulling together to offer Mick our support and help him through this sad time," he said. "Without a doubt we intend to be back out on that stage as soon as we can."
Watts added that it was an "awful time", but also vowed to be back.
"Needless to say we are all completely shocked but our first thought is to support Mick at this awful time," he said in the statement.
"We intend to come back to Australia and New Zealand as soon as it proves possible."
In the original statement, none of the three mentioned Scott by name, but in a subsequent comment on their Facebook page Wood paid his respects to the designer's family.
On Wednesday, a coroner in New York confirmed that Scott had committed suicide by hanging.
Jagger has not been seen in public since hearing the tragic news, but in a blog post on his website a day after Scott was found dead he described her as not only his lover but his best friend.
"I will never forget her," he wrote under a post entitled "L'Wren", featuring a black and white photo of Scott.
"I am still struggling to understand how my lover and best friend could end her life in this tragic way."
British media said Jagger was so distraught at the loss that he has barely slept and was being monitored by his entourage, including medical professionals and his daughters Elizabeth and Georgia May.
It emerged that Scott's fashion business had large debts, at the time of her suicide according to accounts filed in Britain.
LS Fashion Ltd ran a loss of $5.9 million (S$7.5 million) as of December 31, 2012, said the accounts, lodged with Britain's Companies House last October and obtained by AFP.
Scott's body-hugging and figure-flattering dresses were loved by celebrities from Hollywood stars to US First Lady Michelle Obama.