Thursday, November 5, 2009

Westlife’s Nicky Byrne mourns death of father

Westlife star Nicky Byrne returns to Ireland after his father died on Tuesday

Westlife member Nicky Byrne has jetted back to Ireland on the news that his father - Nicky Sr - has passed away suddenly.

The pop star, 31, had been in London on Tuesday as the band prepared to embark on a TV and radio tour to promote their new album Where We Are and were due in Scotland to appear on STV programme The Hour.

In a statement tonight the Byrne family said: "The family would like to confirm the sad news of the very sudden loss of a husband, dad and granddad today."

They described Nicky Snr as "a wonderful man who will be sadly missed by everyone whose life he touched".

A statement from the band's management company SyCo Music confirmed that their promotional tour had been postponed. "We apologise that due to unforeseen circumstances the Westlife regional radio tour 4-6 November has been cancelled," read the statement. "We're very sorry for the disappointment that this will cause and will be bringing you further updates soon."

Nicky picked up his musical talent from his father, who was a well known singer and musician on the Ireland cabaret scene.

It was only last year in December that the Westlife star threw a birthday bash for his dad's 60th birthday, buying him a £16,000 Harley Davidson motorbike as a present.

His father's death is the third tragedy to hit 31-year-old Nicky in recent weeks. Only last month, the father-of-two returned to his native Dublin to pay his final respects to his friend, Boyzone's Stephen Gately, after he died suddenly in Majorca. Yesterday, another friend and fellow Dubliner, Beverley O'Sullivan, a former star with Irish pop group Fifth Avenue, died in a car crash in India.

Westlife have had global success with 14 number one hits and sold 40 million records worldwide and their new single What About Now came in at number two in Sunday's official chart show.

The band were formed in the 90s under the name IOYOU but their original line-up fell foul of music mogul Simon Cowell, with three members of the band axed.

Kian, Mark and Shane were then joined by Nicky and Bryan to form Westside in 1998, a name which was then changed to Westlife and have since been managed by X Factor judge Louis Walsh.

Nicky is married to Georgina Ahern, daughter of the former Irish Taoiseach Bertie Ahern. They have twin sons, Rocco and Jay.


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