By Kim Willis and Bill Keveney
(USA TODAY) — Simon Cowell broke his back Saturday while putting his new electric bicycle to the test at his home.
The 60-year-old entertainment mogul broke his back in several places while trying out his bike with family in the courtyard of his home in Malibu, Syco Entertainment confirmed to USA TODAY in a statement provided by Ann-Marie Thomson.
Cowell was taken to the hospital where he underwent six hours of surgery overnight that included placing a metal rod in his back.
He’s under observation and doing fine, the statement said. NBC said Cowell will not appear in this season’s first live “America’s Got Talent” episodes, scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday.
Fellow judges Heidi Klum and Sofia Vergara shared photos on Instagram of the socially distant “America’s Got Talent” set, pointing to the empty seat meant for Cowell.
“We miss our boss!! Come back fast simoncowell!! wrote Vergara.
“Wishing you a speedy recovery @simoncowell,” wrote Klum.
Klum gave a shout-out in an Instagram stories video she shot while approaching Cowell’s trailer. “I just wanted to say I miss you Simon,” she said.
Cowell has been in quarantine at home during the COVID-19 pandemic with his girlfriend Lauren Silverman and their young son Eric, 6.
“We watch movies in the evening, play together, read books, comics, everything,” he told People in May.
Cowell, the creator of “America’s Got Talent,” serves as a judge on the show. He has also been a judge on “Britain’s Got Talent,” “The X Factor” and “American Idol.”
“America’s Got Talent” went back into production in June, taping a socially distanced Judge Cuts episode outdoors that aired July 28.
“As bad as it is, you always have to find a solution to get back to work,” Cowell told USA TODAY via email in June. “I have sympathy for so many people in this situation, but if our show is an example, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. It’s different, but hopefully it will still be as popular.”
He said he was pleased with the resulting episode.
“It was surreal, like being in a movie,” Cowell wrote. “As we drove onto the lot, everyone is walking around with masks and we go into this room and we’re told what we can do, what we can’t do and I’m thinking this is going to be a tough day. But there was this real buzz of excitement that we were all back together.”
“AGT” will return Aug. 11 (NBC, Tuesday, 8 EDT/PDT) with the first 11 of 44 quarterfinalists.
Contributing: The Associated Press; Gary Levin