UB40 founding member Astro dies after short illness

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UB40 featuring Ali and Astro (handout)
UB40 featuring Ali and Astro (handout)

Former UB40 member Astro, real name Terence Wilson, has died after a short illness, his current band has confirmed.

The musician went on to perform with breakaway group UB40 featuring Ali Campbell and Astro.

A statement on the band’s official Twitter said: “We are absolutely devastated and completely heartbroken to have to tell you that our beloved Astro has today passed away after a very short illness.

“The world will never be the same without him. We ask you to please respect his family’s privacy at this incredibly difficult time.”

Astro was a member of UB40 from the late 1970s until 2013 when he left to team up with Campbell and keyboardist Mickey Virtue, who had previously quit.

Virtue later departed the breakaway group after the release of 2018 album A Real Labour Of Love.

A statement from the current UB40 line-up said: “RIP ASTRO.

“We have heard tonight, the sad news that ex-member of UB40, Terence Wilson, better know as Astro, has passed away after a short illness.

“Our sincere condolences to his family.”

Campbell was an original member of the UB40 line-up and his brother Duncan took over as lead singer when Ali quit in 2008 over a disagreement about management.

UB40 recently announced musician Matt Doyle will replace Duncan as their new lead singer after he announced his retirement from music in June after having a seizure at home.

UB40 formed in 1978 in Birmingham choosing their name as a reference to a form issued to people claiming unemployment benefits at the time.

The band produced hits including Red Red Wine and Falling In Love With You.

In June, UB40 featuring Ali Campbell and Astro performed a special online concert of UB40’s 1980 album Signing Off in its entirety.

Since Campbell and Astro reunited in 2013, they have embarked on multiple UK arena tours, while their world tours have included visits to North and South America, Nigeria, South Africa, Dubai and Australia as well as the vineyards of New Zealand for a Red Red Winery Tour.

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