UB40 singer, trumpeter, percussionist and toaster Astro has died, following “a very short illness”, it has been confirmed.
Astro – whose real name was Terence Wilson – died today (November 6). He was 64 years old.
A tweet on the Ali Campbell and Astro Twitter account shared the sad news with fans, saying they were “absolutely devastated and completely heartbroken” by his death. “The world will never be the same without him,” they added. “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
A message was also posted on the official UB40 Twitter account. “RIP ASTRO,” it read. “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.”
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
The musician was a founding member of the Birmingham reggae and pop group in 1979, remaining in the line-up until 2013. He later formed a new version of the band with Campbell and Mickey Virtue.
With the original version of UB40, Astro released 18 studio albums, including the 1983 chart-topper ‘Labour Of Love’, which spawned the Number One single ‘Red Red Wine’, and 1985’s ‘Baggariddim’, which boasted the Chrissie Hynde collaboration ‘I Got You Babe’. His last record with the band was 2013’s ‘Getting Over The Storm’.
In a statement announcing his decision to leave the band, Astro said the group was like a “rudderless ship” and cited a “serious lack of communication between the band and management”, as well as the musical direction the band had gone in on ‘Getting Over The Storm’.
Tributes have begun to be paid online following the news of Astro’s death, with fans calling the Birmingham musician a “Brum legend”.
“Sad to read of Astro’s passing,” one Twitter user said. “I grew up listening to UB40, Signing Off is such a brilliant album today. Saw him a few times down the Blues, always with a smile and always got a great reception.”
Sad to read of Astro’s passing. I grew up listening to UB40, Signing Off is such a brilliant album today. Saw him a few times down the Blues, always with a smile and always got a great reception. #bcfc #UB40
— Mark Rice (@StaffsMark) November 6, 2021
Another added: “UB40 were the bedrock of my youth. They’ve been integral to my adult years. Anyone who knows me will have unfortunately suffered either my poor karaoke or 3am control of the remote. Astro is a hero. Gutted. RIP.”
UB40 were the bedrock of my youth. They’ve been integral to my adult years. Anyone who knows me will have unfortunately suffered either my poor karaoke or 3am control of the remote.
Astro is a hero. Gutted. RIP. https://t.co/RgecXwJuZg
— Liam (@LiamWBAFC) November 6, 2021
See more tributes below.
Bugger. Hard to believe, kids, but when I saw UB40 on the “Signing Off” tour, they were absolutely brilliant. Hard, political reggae with a melodic edge and a brilliant groove, a packed house just bouncing all night, and Astro was brilliant. RIP https://t.co/u7xTLEVAm8
— Paul Blinkhorn (@R1100GSBlueNose) November 6, 2021
R.I.P Astro 💔 One of the best in a brilliant band. Thoughts are with your family and friends #ub40 #RatInTheKitchen #sad pic.twitter.com/t8tGIxPkdz
— emma ralley 🇬🇧 (@emmajane72) November 6, 2021
Sad news indeed. A Brum legend. #UB40 #ASTRO #Birmingham #WestMidlands https://t.co/lYy53IwHtk
— Daren Carpmail (@DCarpmail) November 6, 2021
Such sad news about the lovely Astro from UB40 , have great memories of listening and dancing to UB40 and Astro’s distinctive and beautiful voice. RIP Astro 🌹🌹 💜💜https://t.co/lvHIoGKdwV
— TJ Hilton (@tjhilton1) November 6, 2021
R.I.P Astro Balsall Heath/Moseleys finest him and @UB40 done a lot to put Birmingham music on the map and never forgot where he came from often seen him round the ends condolences to his family and friends 🙏🏾
— Martan smith 🦁 (@martan_smith) November 6, 2021
Very sad news. Astro and UB40 gave voice to the many people neglected and marginalised in 80s Britain. They had a real social conscience expressed through their music. Rest in power Terence ✊🏽 https://t.co/kZSn6Jgry8
— Joe Donnelly (@kildarejoe) November 6, 2021
RIP ASTRO – TRUE LEGEND AND BIRMINGHAM HOME GROWN TALENT. #UB40
— Donna Thomas (@DonnaThomas54) November 6, 2021
RIP Astro.🙏 UB40, opened doors to musical adventures I continue to explore and – crucially – adore. Football-aside, your (and the band’s) influence brought sunshine to an otherwise dreary childhood. @UB40
— HanrahanrahAnthonyGrant#42 (@Safehandsstfc1) November 6, 2021