British vocalist and former UB40 member Terence Wilson, better known by his stage name Astro, has died following a short illness. He was 64.
“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,” a statement on singer Ali Campbell and Astro’s Twitter account said on Saturday (Nov. 6). “The world will never be the same without him.”
Astro was a member of the British reggae-pop band for more than 30 years. He left the act in 2013 to join UB40 Featuring Ali Campbell, Astro and Mickey Virtue
Further details about Astro’s death were not available at press time.
UB40 remembered the singer in a tweet on Saturday. “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,” the group wrote. “Our sincere condolences to his family.”
UB40 was founded in Birmingham, England, in 1978 by Robin Campbell, Ali Campbell, Brian Travers, Earl Falconer, James Brown, and Norman Hassan. Virtue and Astro joined in 1979, and the lineup remained the same until frontman Ali left in 2008. He was replaced by another younger brother, Duncan Campbell.
Together, the group landed five songs on the Billboard Hot 100: “Red Red Wine” climbed to the summit in 1988 and spent 40 weeks on the chart; “Can’t Help Falling in Love” was No. 1 in 1993 and stayed on the chart for 29 weeks; “I Got You Babe” (a collab with Chrissie Hynde) reached No. 28 in 1985; “The Way You Do the Things You Do” peaked at No. 6 in 1990; and “Here I Am (Come and Take Me) reached a high of No. 7 in 1991. Notably, all five songs were cover versions. They were first popularized by Neil Diamond, Elvis Presley, Sonny & Cher, The Temptations and Al Green, respectively.
Their 1993 album, Promises and Lies, was the group’s biggest chart success, peaking at No. 6 on the all-genre Billboard 200. UB40 has also earned four Grammy nominations: best reggae recording (album) in 1987 for UB40 CCCP (Live in Moscow); best reggae recordings for UB40 (album) and “Breakfast in Bed” (track) in 1988; and best reggae album for Who You Fighting For in 2006.
In late August, UB40 saxophone player and songwriter Travers died after a long battle with cancer. In March 2019, the musician announced that he was undergoing surgery for a brain tumor, and wouldn’t be joining UB40 on their 40th anniversary tour.
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
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
— UB40 (@UB40OFFICIAL) November 6, 2021