Travers, the group’s saxophonist, has confirmed that a brain tumour diagnosis will put him out of action when the jaunt – which celebrates the group’s 40th anniversary – begins in Portsmouth at the end of this week. He is due to undergo surgery, after which he has been told to expect recovery to take up to six months. UB40 released their new album For The Many less than two weeks ago.
In a statement, he said: “It is with great regret that I shall be unable to join my band mates in UB40 on our 40th anniversary tour, the guys have worked incredibly hard to perfect the songs in preparation for the live premier of our new album For the Many.
“They sound great, but I shall be there in spirit, cheering them on from my convalescence and thinking of all the wonderful people out there who have supported us for the last 40 years, who I am now incredibly proud to count as friends.
“I’ve had a great life with no regrets and have absolutely nothing to add to a bucket list except getting over this and getting back to the thing I love, playing music to anyone who wants to listen and expressing myself through painting & sculpture.
“It’s been a huge privilege and I thank you all for the opportunity to ‘live the dream’.”
The rest of the group said: “We’re deeply saddened that Brian, our lifelong friend and founding member of UB40, is unable to join us for our celebratory UK tour.
“We know he will be missed by all but his health and wellbeing come first, and we are sure our friends and fans will join us in wishing Brian a full and speedy return to health, and return to us.”
The tour takes the band up until late May, with shows in Folkestone, Margate, Hastings, Poole and Plymouth in the first week alone.
The group are one of the most successful of all time; having sold over 100 million records globally.
The new album For The Many charted at No29 in the UK upon its release.
It came just a year after the Top 3 smash A Real Labour of Love, on which they were joined by Ali, Astro and Mickey.
The group’s first ever opus, Signing Off, was released in 1980 and peaked at No2 in the United Kingdom; eventually being certified Platinum.
Other current members include Jimmy Brown, Robin Campbell, Earl Falconer, Norman Hassan and Duncan Campbell.