Mo Farah insisted he had no choice but to pull out of the Commonwealth Games through illness, as more of the star quality due to be on show in Glasgow disappeared.
The morning after the Games opened with a spectacular ceremony at Celtic Park, the double Olympic and world champion dealt organisers a major blow by announcing the "tough decision" to withdraw.
The 31-year-old, who was due to go for gold over 5,000 and 10,000 metres, has made progress in his recovery from the illness which forced him out of his last two races, but said his body was not ready to race.
Instead, the Londoner, who pulled out of the Sainsbury's Glasgow Grand Prix at Hampden Park and last Sunday's Anniversary Games after being admitted to hospital in the United States with abdominal pains, has opted to focus on getting back to full fitness in time for next month's European Championships in Zurich.
Farah, who had been training hard at his altitude base in the Pyrenees, said: "The sickness I had two weeks ago was a big setback for me.
"Training is getting better here in Font Romeu, but I need another few weeks to get back to the level I was at in 2012 and 2013.
"I really wanted to add the Commonwealth titles to my Olympic and World Championships, but the event is coming a few weeks too soon for me as my body is telling me it's not ready to race yet. Best wishes to my fellow athletes in Glasgow."
The 5,000m final takes place on the first evening of the athletics programme on Sunday.
Farah was set to be one of the biggest names in Glasgow, but without him the England team features just one member of the golden trio who won Olympic titles on Super Saturday at London 2012 - long jumper Greg Rutherford. And he has himself withdrawn from his last two competitions for fitness reasons after struggling with a knee problem.
On top of that, Katarina Johnson-Thompson, new mother Jessica Ennis-Hill's heir apparent in the heptathlon, was forced out of the Games by a foot injury just three days ago.
With the injured Yohan Blake also absent, Usain Bolt and David Rudisha will be the only two global stars of track and field on show at Hampden Park - and Bolt is only competing in the 4x100m relay.
Glasgow 2014 chief executive David Grevemberg said: "There's no question we're disappointed that Mo Farah announced he would be withdrawing. We're very disappointed for Mo. We knew how much he wanted to be here.
"I'm sure there will be some disappointed people, but there are plenty of great athletes who are here and will be competing."
Farah, who is in the Great Britain team for the 5,000m and 10,000m at the Europeans, which get under way on August 12, has raced only once on the track this year - over 5,000m at the Portland Track Festival in June.
His previous race had been a chastening marathon debut in London in April when he came home in eighth place.
Farah, who initially refused to commit to competing in Glasgow as he focused on preparing for, and then recovering from, the marathon, sounded optimistic last week when he said on Twitter that the Commonwealths were his "next stop".
But, with the Kenyans set to provide a stern challenge, even without all of their top names, fitness issues have forced a change of heart.
Steve Cram, a three-time Commonwealth champion, told BBC Sport: "It's hugely disappointing for Mo and the event. We knew he had been struggling. He's just run out of time to be in shape and I was really hoping he would have run the 10,000m at least.
"Running the marathon earlier in the year has upset his normal pattern and had an impact on his summer.
"He knows how hard the 5,000m and 10,000m are going to be here, so he didn't want to put himself at the risk of not winning.
"It's not like the Europeans, where the competition is not particularly strong. He would not have wanted to come here and not be at his best, but he'll be a big miss."
Team England chef de mission Jan Paterson added: "It is a real blow for any athlete to miss out on a major championships through injury, but to have fought so hard to regain full fitness and to have to take such a difficult decision at this stage is particularly hard. We wish Mo all the very best and hope to see him back to his peak very soon."