UB40's Astro Dead at 64

The British performer helped bring reggae to the mainstream
By Liz MacGahan,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 7, 2021 2:29 PM CST

(Newser) – Terence Wilson, one of the earliest members of the British reggae pop band UB40, has died after a short illness. He was known to friends and fans as Astro—a nickname he picked up wearing Doc Martens Astronaut boots. Astro joined UB40 in 1979, before they started cranking out number one hits. He left to rejoin founding member Ali Campbell’s new version of the group in 2013, the BBC reports. That band confirmed his death on its official Twitter page. “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,” the band tweeted.

The other UB40 lineup tweeted their condolences, too. They lost founding member Brian Travers to brain cancer this summer. The band, which takes its name from an unemployment form in the UK, is best known in the US for chart-toppers like “Red Red Wine” and “Can't Help Falling in Love.” They hit their stride fusing reggae traditions and pop sounds, with Astro occasionally performing as “toaster”—doing lyrical spoken words over the music, NBC News reports. He was 64. (Read more obituary stories.)

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