Tributes paid to UB40 toaster Astro who has died

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.”

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.”

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.”

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.”

See more tributes below.