Fans of British reggae group UB40 received some sad news this week.
According to a statement on Twitter, founding member Terence “Astro” Wilson died after a short illness.
“The world will never be the same without him”
Wilson was an original member of the group that first formed in the late 1970s and subsequently quit that band — along with fellow founding member Ali Campbell — to perform under the same name.
In a message posted to the pair’s shared Twitter account, his loved ones are “devastated and completely heartbroken” by the news.
“The world will never be the same without him,” the statement continued. “We ask you to please respect his family’s privacy at this incredibly difficult time.”
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. pic.twitter.com/GRDjtApyzy
— ALI CAMPBELL & ASTRO (@UB40) November 6, 2021
The original band also posted a tribute to the former member in a social media statement.
“We’re still on that same mission”
According to Rolling Stone, Wilson could be heard delivering spoken-word lyrics on a string of UB40 hits including the chart-topping 1983 song Red Red Wine.
He was on all 18 albums released prior to his 2013 departure from the group. Both he and Campbell returned as “special guests” for a 2018 album.
Tragically, another founding band member also died just weeks earlier. Saxophonist Brian Travers died in August at the age of 62 after a battle with cancer.
It was unclear from available reports what type of underlying illness led to Wilson’s death. For the time being, fans and colleagues alike are offering condolences to his friends and families as they deal with their grief.
In 2014, he reflected on his time in the group, stating: “I’m on a mission 30-plus years ago to try and help popularize reggae music. And all these years later, we’re still on that same mission. ‘Cause we personally don’t believe that reggae is getting enough airplay on mainstream radio.”