UB40 singer Duncan Campbell quits band and retires from music after seizure

28 June 2021, 11:40

Duncan Campbell of UB40
Duncan Campbell of UB40. Picture: Getty

By Mayer Nissim

Duncan Campbell had a stroke last year and had been rehabbing in the hope of rejoining the band.

UB40 singer Duncan Campbell has announced that he is leaving the band and retiring from music.

The singer suffered a stroke in August last year, and while he had been rehabbing with the hope of rejoining the band, he experienced a seizure earlier this month.

"Unfortunately, due to continued ill health, I have reluctantly decided to retire from the band so as to focus on my recovery," said Duncan in a message on the band's official website.

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"I am very grateful, and would like to express my sincere thanks, to the fans for all their support during this time and indeed throughout my time with UB40.

"The band have my full support going forward and, of course, my very best wishes for the future with their new singer.”

UB40 at Rewind Scotland 2018
UB40 at Rewind Scotland 2018. Picture: Getty

Speaking on behalf of the band, Duncan’s brother and bandmate Robin Campbell added: "We’ve been rehearsing with every intention of Duncan’s return to performing, but sadly, after suffering further illness he has made the decision to retire from music in order to concentrate fully on his recovery.

"While we are deeply saddened, we completely understand and fully support his decision. As far as touring goes, we are ready to hit the road for our upcoming summer shows and will be announcing our new front man imminently."

Duncan joined UB40 as the singer in 2008 after his brother and founding member Ali Campbell left the group and started a solo career.

Ali went on to reunite with fellow former UB40 bandmates Astro and Mickey Virtue to release the album Silhouette as "UB40 featuring Ali, Astro and Mickey", as they were not legally allowed to use the UB40 bandname.

Read more: UB40 feud – Reggae band's complicated history and why the Campbell brothers fell out

The current UB40 lineup released the album Bigga Baggariddim last week.

Featuring collaborations with House of Shem, Tippa Irie, BLVK H3RO, Inner Circle, Pablo Rider, KIOKO, Gilly G, Slinger, Winston Francis, Leno Banton and General Zooz (Reggae Rajahs), it is a follow-up to 1985's original Baggariddim album.

As well as playing various summer festivals, UB40 will be taking the album on the road with their new singer in November and December this year, with more dates in Europe and Australia booked for 2022.