He’s Jon Bon Jovi’s trusted lieutenant, a guitarist who can claim almost as much credit for one of the commercially successful heavy rock bands of all time as its bouffant haired front man. Richie Sambora has a pretty justified reputation as being one of rock’s good guys, with not just his solid playing for Bon Jovi, but also the countless good deeds he’s done for charities around the globe, including Dream Street, The Steve Young Forever Young Foundation and Michael J Fox’s Parkinson’s disease foundation; his commitment to those he supports has been with awards and rightly so. He’s a force for good.

Yet sadly Sambora also has another side, one weak to the dangerous advances of alcohol and drugs. Sambora is thankfully aware enough fellow to check these problems in when they become too much, having checked into rehab twice in both 2007 and 2011. Unfortunately though the guitarist seems to suffer from a problem that won’t go away.

"Due to personal issues, Richie Sambora will not be performing on this upcoming leg. All shows will go on as scheduled," said a statement on the band's website on Wednesday, tersely. There were no details on why he’d left Bon Jovi’s current tour, though some sources have suggested a tension between him and his front man. Hopefully it isn’t down to a relapse, you really hope that it isn’t. It’s believed that Jon Bon Jovi has constantly belittled Sambora, whose so far dutifully kept up with him, but perhaps things have gotten to a head. Yahoo has reported there could be money issues between the pair as well, although both have been coy on the exact reasoning.

What’s clear is that the split by Sambora from the group is troubling in terms of the band, because even his past issues have never caused him to take a break without anything other than support from the rest of the band. The frosty nature of Bon Jovi’s reaction to the announcement (shouting “I had two choices: pack up and go home or give you everything I got ... Richie Sambora won't be performing for a while. If there's ever a night I need you, it's tonight, Calgary!" to his audience there,) posits that maybe this time that one of them’s gone too far. Whether the reason comes to light, though, or not, there are two worrying upshots. One that Sambora may be done with Bon Jovie – and they are surely a worse band without him than with – and two, if he does leave the band who’ve been such a vital part of his life for almost three decades, he could return to the sadder side and that this time he might not be able to keep a check on it.

Richie Sambora
Is Richie Sambora gone for good?

Richie Sambora
Richie Sambora on the right of Bon Jovi - where we're used to seeing him

Check out 1988 I'll Be There For You, a song Sambora's been known to take lead vocals on