Westlife star Mark Feehily reveals he’s standing down from the band just days before US tour leaving fans devastated

29 February 2024, 01:01 | Updated: 29 February 2024, 01:07

Mark Feehily announced he's temporarily stepping away from the band amid health struggles.
Mark Feehily announced he's temporarily stepping away from the band amid health struggles. Picture: Alamy/Instagram

By Jenny Medlicott

The Westlife star announced he was leaving the band in a shock announcement on Wednesday.

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Mark Feehily, 43, left fans devastated as he shared he would be temporarily stepping down from the band amid health struggles.

The four-piece, made up of Shane Filan, Kian Egan, Nicky Byrne and Mark, had been preparing for their first ever US tour, due to take place in just weeks, when he broke the news.

He wrote on the band’s Instagram account: “Hello and much love to you all! It's Mark here.. Most of you are aware that I have had some health challenges over the past while. It actually all started 3.5 years ago in August 2020 when I had surgery. Within a few days of this surgery I was in severe pain and was rushed into A&E."

Sepsis is a life-threatening condition that happens when your immune system overreacts to an infection and starts to damage your body's own tissues and organs.

He continued: “I eventually ended that awful day in ICU (Intensive Care Unit) where I was informed that due to a complication with the surgery, I had developed severe ‘Sepsis’, a life-threatening infection that would require immediate emergency surgery to rectify the problem and basically save my life.

“I spent the next few months in hospital. It was during lockdown. For months, due to strict Covid restrictions, I was not allowed any visitors including my fiance and my then 10-month-old daughter.

“It was physically and mentally a very difficult time, not to mention traumatic having to spend so long in ICU.”

He went on: “In late 2021, I became very ill in Newcastle before a concert and ended up back in A&E, this time being told I had pneumonia. I was told I had to go straight home to recover and regrettably miss the rest of the concerts that December.

“I was referred to a consultant who told me I needed more surgery which I went ahead with in May 2022 meaning I was forced to miss more of The Wild Dreams tour.

“Three months after that surgery, I tried my best to soldier on for you guys and to go back on tour but unfortunately the physical demands of the concerts and extensive travel were proving too much for me.

“I developed a very large 'incisional hernia' and I was told that I needed further surgery to fix it. This would be my fourth major surgery since the start of it all, but I had no option.”

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Mark announced his temporary departure from the band.
Mark announced his temporary departure from the band. Picture: Alamy

While the surgery was fortunately a success, Mark said it means he has been forced to focus on recovery.

"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 the chance to fully recover from the turbulent journey I have been through as an individual,” he said.

“Believe me, I wish things could be different! I would like to thank you so very much for your support and understanding of me and my health over the past few years."

Fans were left devastated after the news, as one wrote: "My heart is broken. We will miss you very much here in Brazil, even more so after more than 20 years without setting foot here."

Another added: "I wish you speedy recovery Mark. Your health is your utmost priority. Im sorry you have to go thru all that.. be strong.. rest well, eat well. Come back stronger!"

Mark has faced a string of health battles in recent years, including pneumonia at the end of 2022.

His bandmates shared a message of support following his announcement, as they said: “Mark has been so strong in continuing to show up on stage despite going through such a turbulent time with his health and we completely respect that he must now focus on getting better so he can return to the stage when he is fit and well to do so!

“In the meantime, we will continue to fly the Westlife flag higher than ever for you guys.”

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