Westlife singer pulls out of tour

Entertainment

Westlife star Mark Feehily has announced he is “temporarily” standing down from all touring with the band due to what he called “health challenges”.

The 43-year-old Irish singer, who recently had surgery, said “my recovery must now become my absolute priority at this time”.

Feehily revealed he has “had ongoing medical problems” since he went for surgery in August 2020 and then developed “severe sepsis” due to a complication.

He described how over three and a half years he was treated in a hospital intensive care unit during COVID lockdown restrictions, was diagnosed with pneumonia and developed a large “incisional hernia” which needed surgery to fix.

Westlife
Image:
Westlife performing in 2022. Pic: PA

“This would be my fourth major surgery since the start of it all, but I had no option,” Feehily said in a statement posted on Instagram.

“That surgery took place recently and thankfully it went according to plan but with that, my recovery must now become my absolute priority at this time.

“It is with the upmost level of regret that I must now temporarily stand down from all Westlife touring until a time that I have had a chance to fully recover from the turbulent journey I have been through as an individual.

“Believe me, I wish things could be different.”

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The singer is set to miss the band’s last shows of The Wild Dreams Tour, which has been taking place across the globe since 2022, and is due to head to the US and South America from 11 March.

What is sepsis?

The NHS describes sepsis as a “life-threatening” reaction to an infection.

It occurs when an individual’s immune system overreacts to an infection and starts to damage the body’s own tissues and organs.

There are lots of possible symptoms, the NHS says, which can sometimes be similar to a cold or flu.

Sepsis needs treatment straight away, if not, it can develop into septic shock and cause organs to fail.

The NHS says to call 999 or go to A&E if someone has any of the following symptoms: acting confused, slurred speech, discoloured or blotchy skin and difficulty breathing.

Feehily went on to thank his family, bandmates and medical staff for their support, telling fans: “I have to make the right decision for my health and wellbeing, for my family, and for myself as a person. Please don’t worry.

“I will see you very soon beautiful people.”

The rest of the group – Shane Filan, Kian Egan and Nicky Byrne – said they would “continue to fly the Westlife flag higher than ever” while wishing Feehily well.

Westlife pictured at the MTV Europe awards ceremony in Dublin in 1999
Image:
Westlife pictured at the MTV Europe awards ceremony in Dublin in 1999

His health battles have meant he missed some of Westlife’s shows back in 2022 after being diagnosed with pneumonia.

The band, alongside former member Brian McFadden, found fame after forming in 1998.

They disbanded in 2012 after 14 years of success, but reunited in 2018 without McFadden – who left the group in 2004.

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