UB40 founding member Astro dies after a short illness, the musician, whose real name is Terence Wilson was aged 64.
The band announced the “absolutely devastating and completely heartbroken” news in a statement.
“The world will never be the same without him, we ask you to please respect his family’s privacy at this incredibly difficult time.”
Astro was a UB40member from 1978 until 2013, when he joined the breakaway group UB40 alongside Ali Campbell, which had performed this year and was set to go on tour in 2022.
Based in Birmingham, the original band rose to prominence in the early 1980s and is known for reggae hits like Red Red Wine and (I Can’t Help) Falling In Love With You.
Astro sang lead vocals on the single Rat In Mi Kitchen, which reached number 12 in 1987 – a song he wrote in response to Ali Campbell’s problems with rodents.
The group’s name is derived from a form issued to people claiming unemployment benefits at the time – “Unemployment Benefit, Form 40”.
The original band describes itself as working class, with some of its members having to survive on less than £8 a week in benefits in the early days of their careers.
They were friends who began rehearsing together in a local basement and were determined to make their left-wing political convictions a part of the band’s identity, having attended marches against the National Front and rallies organised by Rock Against Racism.