Astro, UB40 Founding Member, Dead at 64

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Terence Wilson aka Astro, a founding member of the band UB40, died after falling ill to a brief sickness, BBC reports. He was 64 years old. His band confirmed his death in a statement via social media. "We are absolutely devastated and completely heartbroken," said the band from Ali Campbell and Astro's Twitter account. "The world will never be the same without him."

Astro broke away from UB40 in 2013 and later reunited with the group featuring Ali Campbell and Astro in 2018. The group performed some concerts in 2021 and was scheduled to hit the road again in 2022. The British Reggae band became famous in the 1980s for their unique twist on the genre with hits like "Red Red Wine" and "Can't Help Falling In Love." Named after the government's then-unemployment benefit form, the band sold more than 70 million records and had three no.1 hits in the UK. 

The band also released a statement from the main Twitter page saying, "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." the UB40 recorded 39 UK top 40 singles and 28 top 40 albums during their hey-day –– one of the singles includes "Rat In Mi Kitchen," in which Astro sang the lead vocals on. The track peaked at no. 12 in 1987. Across the pond, "Red Red Wine" and "Can't Help Falling In Love" both hit no. 1, the latter topping the charts in 1993. 

Wilson spoke with The Guardian in May, sharing an insider's perspective on how the group became the voice of the working class who was also fed up with the country's political and global issues. "We found it harder to write love songs than militant lyrics because it was a lot easier to write about stuff you had witnessed or read about. It seemed natural to us," he said.

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BBC Radio West Midlands host Natalie Graham offered a tribute following the news of his passing, calling his death "very, very sad." "Astro really was a wonderful and an incredible human being and obviously the legacy of the music that we still get to enjoy from the likes of UB40 is something very, very special," she said.