UB40 founding member Astro dies aged 64 following 'short illness'

Astro died at the age of 64.
Astro died at the age of 64. Photo credit: Image - Getty Images

A founding member of British reggae group UB40, Astro, has died on Sunday. 

The musician, whose real name is Terence Wilson, passed away at the age of 64 after a short illness according to a statement on his current band's 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 post reads.

"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 type of illness and the reasons for his deaths have not been made public. 

The official UB40 Twitter account said: "RIP ASTRO. We have heard tonight, the sad news that ex-member of UB40, Terence Wilson, better known as Astro, has passed away after a short illness. 

"Our sincere condolences to his family."

Astro was part of UB40 as a vocalist and trumpet player from 1979.

UB40 went on to become one of the most successful reggae acts of all time, receiving four Grammy nominations and topping the charts in several countries with cover hits like Neil Diamond's 'Red, Red Wine' and Elvis Presley's 'Can't Help Falling in Love'.

UB40 is very popular in New Zealand and have played here many times, including on a 40th anniversary tour in 2019.

He then left the group in November 2013 saying it was making him "miserable", reuniting with other bandmates who had left to form 'UB40 featuring Ali Campbell and Astro'.