The Take It Easy stars were due to be feted for their contributions to American culture alongside fellow honourees including George Lucas and Carole King at the 6 December (15) ceremony in Washington, D.C., but the group has bowed out of the ceremony to allow Frey time to undergo "major surgery" and recover.

The guitarist, who turns 67 on Friday (06Nov15), requires an operation to treat "previous intestinal issues", according to a statement released by the group's spokesman, Larry Solters, on Wednesday (04Nov15). Frey has previously blamed his health struggles on his prior drug use.

The band members go on to thank Kennedy Center bosses for agreeing to postpone the honour until 2016, "when all four Eagles - Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Joe Walsh, and Timothy B. Schmit, can attend".

Other stars to be celebrated at the 2015 Kennedy Center Honors are actresses Cicely Tyson and Rita Morena, and conductor Seiji Ozawa.

Tom Hanks, Sting and Al Green were among last year's (14) honourees.