Westlife’s Markus Feehily ‘temporarily stands down’ from tour due to ill health

Irish singer Markus Feehily has announced he will “temporarily stand down from all Westlife touring” until he has recovered from various “health challenges”.

The 43-year-old from Sligo, who recently had surgery, said “my recovery must now become my absolute priority at this time”.

The singer revealed that he has “had ongoing medical problems” since he went for surgery in August 2020 and subsequently developed “severe sepsis”.

He mentioned it was “physically and mentally a very difficult time” for him and said it was “traumatic” to stay in the intensive care unit (ICU) during Covid 19 lockdown restrictions after he developed the life-threatening reaction to an infection that he was told would “require immediate emergency surgery.”

He “became very ill” again in late 2021 before he had more surgery in May 2022 which was followed by another round of surgery which he said “took place recently” and “went according to plan.”

In a statement to Instagram, he said: “It is with the upmost level of regret that I must now temporarily stand down from all Westlife touring until a time that I have had the chance to fully recover from the turbulent journey I have been through as an individual.

“Believe me, I wish things could be different! I would like to thank you so very much for your support and understanding of me and my health over the past few years.”

He added: “To Shane (Filan), Kian (Egan) and Nicky (Byrne), I love you three and I know you’ll knock it out of the park.

“I’ll be there with you in spirit for each and every show whilst you continue to fly the Westlife flag around the world.

Westlife at Wembley Stadium
Westlife on stage at Wembley Stadium, London, during their sell-out show at the venue in 2022 (Aaron Chown/PA)

“To all the medical staff who held my hand and kept my spirit lifted (you know who you are!), my heartfelt thanks goes out to each and every one of you.

“I’m so devastated that I won’t be there to celebrate the upcoming concerts with you and the 3 lads.

“I hope you know and understand that I should have been there (I was so excited to be there!) and that I look forward to seeing you all again to make some more magic in the future.

“But for now, I have to make the right decision for my health and wellbeing, for my family, and for myself as a person.

“Please don’t worry.”

Bandmembers Egan, Byrne and Filan sent their well wishes to their friend and “brother”.

A statement posted to Westlife’s Instagram story said: “We would like to take this opportunity to send our brother, best friend and fellow bandmate, Mark, so many well wishes as he takes the necessary time he needs to recover.

Westlife in Glasgow
Westlife stars Mark Feehily, Shane Filan, Nicky Byrne and Kian Egan (Danny Lawson/PA)

“Mark has been so strong in continuing to show up on stage despite going through such a turbulent time with his health and we completely respect that he must now focus on getting better so he can return to the stage when he is fit and well to do so!

“In the meantime, we will continue to fly the Westlife flag higher than ever for you guys. Love Kian, Nicky and Shane.”

Westlife’s The Wild Dreams Tour began in 2022 and the group have upcoming dates in America, Canada and South America this March.

The band, alongside former member Brian McFadden, found fame with Westlife after forming in 1998.

They disbanded in 2012 after 14 years of success, but reunited in 2018 without McFadden – who left the band in 2004.

In August 2022 they sold out London’s Wembley Stadium for their first ever performance at the venue.

Feehily appeared as Robobunny on celebrity singing show The Masked Singer in 2022 and came third place.