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Wire Service
1 minute read
7 Nov 2021
3:16 pm

Astro: Former member of reggae-pop giants UB40 dies at age 64


'The world will never be the same without him.'

Musicians Astro, Ali Campbell and Mickey Virtue of U40 perform on stage during the iHeart80s Party 2017 in San Jose, California. Photo: AFP/Getty Images for iHeartMedia/Tim Mosenfelder

Astro, the former vocalist and founding member of British reggae group UB40, who rose to fame in the 1980s has died at the age of 64, his band confirmed.

UB40 band member dies

RIP Terence Wilson, aka Astro

Terence Wilson – who went by the stage name Astro – performed with UB40 until 2013, when he formed a breakaway band.

“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,” his current band, UB40 featuring Ali Campbell and Astro, said on Twitter late Saturday.

“The world will never be the same without him.”

His former band confirmed the news, saying Wilson had died after “a short illness”.

UB40’s fame

UB40’s pop-reggae cover of Neil Diamond’s Red Red Wine propelled them to fame, with the band going on to sell more than 100 million records.

They also held the record – shared with Madness – for most weeks spent in the UK singles chart in the 1980s.

Hailing from the British Midlands’ city of Birmingham, the group rode a wave of youthful discontent against the economic and political status quo, with their name referring to a form provided to people claiming unemployment benefits.

Surveilled by British intelligence

Drummer Jimmy Brown told The Guardian this year the group had even been under surveillance by British intelligence. 

“MI5 were tapping our phones, watching our houses, all sorts,” he said.

“We weren’t planning the revolution, but if the revolution happened, we knew what side we were going to be on.”

© Agence France-Presse