Mark Feehily: Westlife star quits band over serious health issues ahead of first US tour

Westlife's Mark Feehily said he is stepping down from the band to focus on his recovery
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Mark Feehily, one of Westlife's band members, has announced he is stepping down from the band following serious health issues he has been experiencing over the past few years. The 43-year-old took to Instagram to break the news to his followers on Wednesday (February 28) as the band was scheduled to embark on their first US tour with bandmates Shane Filan, Kian Egan, and Nicky Byrne.

In a lengthy post, Mark, who has been with the band since they formed in 1998, said: "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.

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"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. I was eventually discharged from hospital in December 2020 but I have had ongoing medical problems as a result of it all."

Westlife's Mark Feehily said he is stepping down from the band to focus on his recovery. Picture: Dave J Hogan/Getty ImagesWestlife's Mark Feehily said he is stepping down from the band to focus on his recovery. Picture: Dave J Hogan/Getty Images
Westlife's Mark Feehily said he is stepping down from the band to focus on his recovery. Picture: Dave J Hogan/Getty Images

He said his health deteriorated in late 2021, where he said he became "very ill" before a concert in Newcastle and ended up back in the A&E, this time due to pneumonia. This, he said, resulted in him missing the rest of the concerts throughout December. He said: "I was referred to a consultant who told me that 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 the surgery, he said, he developed "a very large incisional hernia" following extensive travel during the tour. He said he was then told he needed another surgery to fix it, which would be his fourth major surgery. Mark said: "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."

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He added: "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. Believe me, I wish things could be different!"

The singer went on to thank his loved ones and the medical team who have helped him over the years, before wishing his bandmates the best of luck. He said: "To Shane, Kian and Nicky, I love you three and know you'll knock it out of the park. I'll be there with you in spirit for each and every show whilst you continue to fly the Westlife flag around the world."

Following his message, Shane, Nicky and Kian said in a joint statement: "We would like to take this opportunity to send our brother, best friend and fellow bandmate, Mark, so many well wishes as he takes the necessary time he needs to recover.

"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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