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Astro dead – Founding member of UB40 passes away

TRIBUTES have been paid to Astro from UB40 who has died at the age of 64.

The Brummie singer, who was a founding member of the pop-reggae band, was said to have passed away after a short illness.

Astro from UB40 has died

A statement on the Ali Campbell and Astro Twitter page 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.”

UB40 official band members also paid tribute.

They 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.”

Named after a British unemployment benefit form, UB40 were formed by former school pals in a welfare line in 1978.

The multiracial lineup reflected the working-class community in Birmingham their members came from. 

Their hit singles include their debut “Food for Thought” and two Billboard Hot 100 number ones with “Red Red Wine” and “Can’t Help Falling in Love”. 

Both of these also topped the UK Singles Chart, as did the band’s version of “I Got You Babe”.

Their two most successful albums, Labour of Love (1983) and Promises and Lies (1993), reached number one on the UK Albums Chart.

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.

The trio then 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.

In June, they performed a special online concert of UB40’s 1980 album Signing Off in its entirety.

UB40 in 1983, from left Astro, Norman Hassan, Brian Travers, Ali Campbell, Earl Falconer, Jimmy Brown, Robin Campbell, Mickey Virtue
UB40 in 1983, from left Astro, Norman Hassan, Brian Travers, Ali Campbell, Earl Falconer, Jimmy Brown, Robin Campbell, Mickey VirtueCredit: Getty – Contributor

Fans of the musician and rapper rushed to pay tribute.

One said: “So sad, he was so lovely.”

Another wrote: “A local hero to Birmingham but a worldwide legend #rip.”

In August this year saxophonist Brian Travers died of cancer aged 62.

“Brian passed away yesterday evening with his family by his side after a long and heroic battle with cancer”, added UB40’s Facebook statement.

No other mention of his cause of death has been made.

Vocalists Ali Campbell and Astro and keyboardist Mickey Virtue of UB40 performs at SAP Center on January 28, 2017 in San Jose, California
Vocalists Ali Campbell and Astro and keyboardist Mickey Virtue of UB40 performs at SAP Center on January 28, 2017 in San Jose, CaliforniaCredit: Getty
Brian Travers passed away at the age of 62 in August
Brian Travers passed away at the age of 62 in August
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