“Tom gave various medical treatments more than a fair shot,” Slayer’s manager Rick Sales said in a statement issued today. “But they just haven’t handled the problem, so he’s biting the bullet and is scheduled for back surgery at the end of the month.”

The announcement means that the band’s American and Canadian Carnage Tour dates, which were scheduled to launch Jan. 18, are off for now, as are a U.K./European trek set for March and April.

Reps for Slayer and its tour mate, Megadeth, are furiously working to reschedule all dates and ask that fans be patient and hold on to their tickets until new arrangements can be made.

Araya’s back problems first surfaced during the band’s swing through Australia/New Zealand/Japan last fall. A visit to an orthopedic specialist resulted in a diagnosis of Cervical Radiculopathy, which generally calls for major surgery.

In an attempt to avoid a prolonged recovery – which means time off the road, Araya opted for a series of minor procedures that apparently provided only limited relief from “bouts of severe pain, numbness and muscle spasms.”

The singer will now undergo an anterior cervical discectomy with fusion, and is expected to recover in a reasonable amount of time.