From The Mirror:
Sipping water in his suite, 24 hours before a sell-out gig, Jon says: “We were all in Calgary, Richie was going to turn up on show day but we went the night before because it’s a long flight.
“At 3.30pm on show day the phone rang and it was Paul the manager and he said guess what, and he didn’t even have to finish the sentence. I said, you’re kidding. We went on that night. I haven’t seen Richie since.
“Love him, spoken to him once. I talked to him once, once in six weeks and 18 shows. He’s not fired, we didn’t have a fight, it certainly isn’t about money.
“We go back 30 years. He can return when he is ready to die every night the way I walk on the stage. It’s different without Richie. No one’s mad, no one’s sad. But fortunately because we had been through it before we performed that night. We couldn’t let down the fans.”
From the London Evening Standard:
Jon hinted that the reason may be the same as in 2011, when Sambora missed dates to go into rehab for alcohol abuse.
He said: “It’s getting more and more difficult every day to not just sit here and say something... Because all I can say is this — it’s for personal reasons. He’s been through it before, fortunately for us the same guy who filled in last time was available this time.
“Life goes on, so if someone chooses not to be here... unlike if this were, God forbid, The Edge, and he for some reason couldn’t make a U2 show, [then] it would be very difficult to just step in.
“You have a choice — you either figure it out, go and grow, not only survive but thrive. Or, you say, ‘I hate my brother and I’m gonna quit the band.’ ”
Yikes. That's more blunt than I would ever have expected from cool, diplomatic JBJ...
EDIT: Since these interviews were published, Richie has tweeted a couple more times, which is doing nothing to hose down speculation...
Hey there's too much to say right now so I won't say anything......love you all...thank u for your support...— Richie Sambora (@TheRealSambora) May 22, 2013
Just don't worry... Everything's good....— Richie Sambora (@TheRealSambora) May 22, 2013