German bass-baritone Thomas Quasthoff has announced he is ending his singing career after nearly 40 years due to health issues.

Quasthoff did not go into specifics. But in a statement from his agent forwarded Thursday to the Vienna office of the Associated Press, he said "my health no longer allows me to live up the high standard that I have always set for my art and myself."

Quasthoff says he will continue teaching and other activities linked to his craft.

Quasthoff appeared on top-ranked stages and performed under Claudio Abbado, Daniel Barenboim, Christoph Eschenbach, James Levine, Mariss Jansons, Zubin Mehta, Riccardo Muti and other famed conductors.

After making his mark as a Lied singer, he took up opera in 2003, singing the minister from Beethoven's "Fidelio" at the Salzburg Easter Festival and following the year after with a performance as Amfortas from Wagner's "Parsifal" at the Vienna State Opera.