UB40 frontman Duncan Campbell retires from music after seizure

MADRID, SPAIN - JULY 23: Duncan Campbell of UB40 performs on stage at Noches del Botanico on July 23, 2017 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Angel Manzano/Redferns)
Duncan Campbell has left UB40. (Angel Manzano/Redferns)

UB40 frontman Duncan Campbell has announced he's retiring from music over health reasons caused by a seizure.

Campbell, 63, had been part of the Birmingham reggae group since they formed in 1978 and was preparing for a new tour, but on Monday the group released a statement to say he was stepping down as singer.

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He said: "Unfortunately, due to continued ill health, I have reluctantly decided to retire from the band so as to focus on my recovery.

"I am very grateful, and would like to express my sincere thanks to the fans for all their support during this time and indeed throughout my time with UB40.

PERTH, SCOTLAND - JULY 22:  Duncan Campbell and Brian Travers of UB40 perform live on stage during Rewind Scotland 2018 at Scone Palace on July 22, 2018 in Perth, Scotland.  (Photo by Lorne Thomson/Redferns)
The singer has quit music over ill health. (Lorne Thomson/Redferns)

"The band have my full support going forward and, of course, my very best wishes for the future with their new singer."

Campbell suffered a stroke in August 2020 which left him in hospital, but over the last 10 months had been concentrating on recovering enough to tour with UB40 this year.

His older brother and bandmate Robin also said in the statement: "We’ve been rehearsing with every intention of Duncan’s return to performing, but sadly, after suffering further illness, he has made the decision to retire from music in order to concentrate fully on his recovery.

"While we are deeply saddened, we completely understand and fully support his decision. As far as touring goes, we are ready to hit the road for our upcoming summer shows and will be announcing our new frontman imminently."

Although Duncan has served as frontman in recent years, his younger brother Ali was best known as UB40's singer until he quit the group in 2008 in a disagreement over management.

He has since been performing as part of breakaway group UB40 Featuring Ali Campbell & Astro, and has been scathing about his replacement in the past, saying that watching his brother perform the group's hits "makes my skin crawl".

UB40's well-known hits include Red Red Wine and Falling In Love With You.

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