Death of Astro, one of the founders of the UB40 group

(AFP) – The former singer and founding member of British reggae group UB40, famous in the 1980s with hits like “Red Red Wine” and “Can’t Help Falling In Love”, has died at the age of 64 years of the consequences of an illness, his group announced on Saturday.

Terence Wilson, Astro by his stage name, performed with UB40 until 2013 before forming another group.

“We are totally devastated to have to tell you that our beloved Astro passed away today after a brief illness,” his current band, which bears the name “UB40 featuring Ali Campbell & Astro”, posted on Twitter late Saturday. “The world will never be the same without him”.

His former group also confirmed the information, adding that he had died from a “brief illness”.

UB40’s cover of Neil Diamond’s song “Red Red Wine” propelled the band to the top with over 100 million records sold.

The name of the group, founded in 1978 in Birmingham, refers to the UK Unemployment Benefits Form 40.

Drummer Jimmy Brown told The Guardian this year the group has been under surveillance by UK Home Intelligence.

“MI5 had bugged our phones and monitored our homes,” he said. “We are not planning a revolution, but if a revolution were to take place, we knew which side we were on,” he said.